Police chief joins tribute to illustrious predecessor killed in the line of duty

Brighton ceremony honours memory of Jewish chief constable who was brutally murdered in the 1800s


A ceremony has been held in Brighton to honour a local Jewish chief constable who was murdered in the line of duty in 1844.

Brighton’s current chief constable, Giles York, joined police and Jewish community representatives for the memorial to Henry Solomon at the old Jewish cemetery in Florence Place, where he is buried.

Godfrey Gould, former chair of the Sussex branch of the Jewish Historical Society, told the gathering that Mr Solomon was bludgeoned to death with a poker by a thief he was interviewing in his office.

Paying tribute to his “revered” predecessor, Chief Constable York said: “Henry Solomon was a generous and compassionate police officer, true to his faith and true to his office. He had 32 men working for him. I have 5,000 men and women working across Sussex — and I do not have a poker in my office.

“But I hope there are elements of the work we do today that are in the same spirit of the work that was done in Henry Solomon’s days.

“Sussex Police are marking their 50th year and it is important we remember our history. It is also important that we listen to our communities and engage with them.”

Rabbi Hershel Radar recited a memorial prayer and read the Hebrew inscription on Mr Solomon’s headstone.

Fiona Sharpe, one of the ceremony organisers, said it was also important as recognition “of the role the Jewish community has played in civic life in Brighton for more than 200 years.

“To have the current Chief Constable of Sussex recognise the contribution Henry Solomon made to the city and acknowledge the ongoing positive relationship between the police and the Jewish community is a great honour.”

Mr Gould said afterwards that Mr Solomon represented “all that is good in the Jewish community in Brighton and Hove, and in the UK generally. He was an integral part of the local Jewish community, an elder, a trustee and the vice-president. But he was a man who, literally, gave his life to the community in general, with several public appointments culminating in that of Brighton’s first sole chief constable. He is the only Jew ever to have held such a position.”

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