What! No police presence?

On sunny days in the holiday season Camber's lengthy beach can attract more than 25,000 visitors

As the school holiday season starts, visitors arrive in large numbers and our beaches, streets, towns and villages get busier and busier, despite the increase in the need to wear a face covering, and no certainty about when the Covid-19 pandemic may end.

And local Member of Parliament Sally-Ann Hart called a meeting about Camber’s visitors (see top photo) which will be reported in full in next week’s Rye News, and which involved Camber residents, a parish councillor and a Rother District Councillor.

But neither the Lewes-based Sussex Police nor East Sussex County Council (ESCC) were represented though the police have to step in when traffic problems around Camber cause chaos, and civil parking enforcement (CPE) is a matter for ESCC. But Camber, of course, is nearly in Kent – though it does attract police attention occasionally.

A policeman appears to be discouraging a car heading for Camber on Thursday, June 25

Apparently the police had a pre-meeting with the MP, but could not be there to listen to the residents – though others did on Zoom. And the police do have a “seasonal” presence in Camber as there is a mini “police station” in the central car park to deal with the problems that can arise when thousands gather together….which is quite a large “event” in police terms.

The police, keeping a careful eye open in Camber in May, seemed overwhelmed a few days later. However at the height of the “season” there is a mini police station in the building behind the car.

And those problems are not restricted to the beach. Bad behaviour, of all kinds, can spill over into surrounding roads, and even the dunes, so Camber’s problems are not just a “parking issue” which may be the police excuse for non appearance. Camber is an event in police terms (according to their own website), both in terms of numbers involved and the potential for social disruption and anti-social behaviour.

Just one of those days in Camber

And Camber’s problems are not just those of “parking” and “civil disturbance”, there is also the impact on traffic in a wide surrounding area about which the police, ESCC and Highways England should have concerns, as the impact of Brexit on traffic just over the border in Kent may have additional implications for this area as well in due course – given the announcement of a proposed massive “customs checkpoint” near Ashford.

The police are forced to seal off Camber in June

Camber’s problems are therefore not new, may take a while to fix (as the slow introduction of CPE would suggest), and do involve a number of agencies; and a full report on progress will appear next week.

In the meantime many visitors come to Camber, and stay there, and therefore there are many who have a growing interest in that stay being pleasant and enjoyable – a point which the politicians and the police will be bearing in mind.

Image Credits: Tony McLaughlin , Nick Forman , Carol Macdonald , John Zammo Barlow .


  1. Perhaps it’s time to get with the times to have beach goers buy a ticket to go on the beach at high season. All other organised countries do it. This pays for the raking /cleaning of the beach every evening by tractor, the emptying of the bins, nice clean portable loos, and life guards on duty. Parking would be paid for separately and the old train link reinstated to ease congestion. All beautiful beaches charge a daily fee to use them. It’s how they are kept beautiful. With the money perhaps they could supply umbrellas. staked out each morning, so people wouldn’t have to carry all their paraphernalia with them. And it would look much tidier!

    • To quote you: “beach goers buy a ticket .. All other organised countries do it…All beautiful beaches charge a daily fee to use them. ” … where on this earth would this be ?

      I’ve been to beaches all over the Caribbean, Maldives, Asia, South America and the North and South of the USA, North and South Africa, and the Mediterranean. Never in my life have I been asked to pay to go on a beach or buy a ticket. I’ve never heard of such a thing.

      Yes, there have been instances of paying for a sun-lounger in a maintained area, or private areas belonging to a hotel. But to pay to have access to a beach has never happened or been witnessed.

  2. In answer to all of the above, visitors to the beautiful West Wittering beach in West Sussex, must purchase a parking ticket in advance. Once all the tickets for the day are gone, that’s it. They don’t have overcrowding, or ongoing traffic queues, or a rubbish problem. Simple.


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