WHISPERING SMITH: Softly, softly catch the monkey...

Norfolk Gardens toilets were closed during the winter months
Norfolk Gardens toilets were closed during the winter months

Highly delighted that our police commissioner, Katy Bourne, has secured a shedload of cash to boost West Sussex policing, around £43million.

Hopefully this will ensure a regular police presence in the town centre and greater time to focus on local crime and unacceptable behaviour as well as community policing.

Her aim is to recruit 800 new coppers over the next four years – that is not quite as good as it first sounds as there is hint of smoke and mirrors here. It does not mean 800 extra policemen as any of these new recruits will simply be replacements for retiring officers or to fill current vacancies.

However, this financial boost is very welcome and will cost the average taxpayer about £1 a month and, I reckon, be worth every penny of it.

Police cars and blanket coverage work for a short while but the yobs come out of the woodwork as soon as the cars drive off. In the old days – I know things were different back then – a stealth approach seemed to be more effective than a high-visibility jacket.

As I recall we had only one PC on a bike in Rustington and you never knew just where he was or when he would pop out of the shadows.

That, together with the threat of a boot up the backside or an ear tugging home journey to your parents, was a great deterrent for any outrageous behaviour we may have been contemplating which, of course, we were not...

Sunday, a fortnight ago, I am on my way back from London and in dire need of the loo but the toilets on the train were locked or out of order.

I leap from the train at Littlehampton Station and make a hurried beeline for the station WC which was closed. Moving at a slightly faster pace I make my way to the St Martin’s Road car park public toilet which was also closed.

I increase my speed a tad and make my way to Costa, always a reliable weekday watering hole whether buying coffee or not. Closed.

Breaking into a bit of a run, I now make my way towards home hoping, as a last resort, there will be no dog walkers in or around Lobs Wood.

There are happy dogs everywhere, going freely all over the daffs. So, on to a home at a rate of knots. I fall through the front door and breathe the deepest sigh of relief ever.

Why share this with you? Well think about it, we give a massive pay rise to Arun’s chief executive, face a raise to our council tax and a hike in rail fares and neither service can offer us the basic necessity of a serviceable public toilet on a late Sunday spring afternoon.

Happy to see summer opening times are now back so all should be well in future...


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