The expression you just can't get the staff', has the meaning that those you do get are less that satisfactory, writes Alan Moore.

This could well have applied to the Borough of Reigate's early police force, for in 1864, the first year of its existence, PC Stovell was fined for misconduct, PC Dashwood, and later PC Stovell, were discharged (reason not given), PC Foss was reprimanded and later fined five shillings, PC Ison was told to be more respectful and later fined one day's pay, PC Harling was convicted of stealing, and PC Serjeant was reprimanded for exposing an immoral article'.

Drink was the downfall of several PC's as in 1865 PCs Baugh and Beddington were dismissed for being drunk, and in 1871 PC Lewis was dismissed for drinking with poachers. In 1874 PC Whiteland was dismissed for being found in a house of Ill fame'.

And misdemeanours were not confined to the lower ranks. Head Constable George Rogers was followed in 1888 by William Pearson, who resigned in 1891 and was replaced by William Morant.

In 1894 Philip Woodman was appointed but was fairly soon arrested for embezzling police funds at his previous employment in the Bradford police force.

Stability was restored by the appointment of Head Constable James Metcalfe, who ended this period of change at the top by remaining for 36 years.

l Alan Moore is author of A History of Redhill volumes one and two. Log onto: for more information.