Re: Chief Officer suspended over text (last week’s Observer). I read the above article with concern and felt compelled to write to express my views.
I was born in Hastings 41 years ago and my family (and therefore my heart) still resides in the town. Although I now live in Middlesex, I am a regular visitor to Hastings and have seen many changes in the last four decades – some good and some bad.
Hastings has been portrayed with much negativity over the years and I have seen plenty of articles in the national press seeking to label it as a depressed and deprived area of the Sussex coast.
I am proud to know Mark Ling. He is a local man who truly has the best interests of Hastings in his heart. I have heard him defend Hastings and its people many times when others are quick to criticise and humiliate the area.
I have known him to intervene in criminal behavior on his days off and when he should be at meetings and he does this because he loves the town he lives in and is proud to serve it. He is a police officer who started as a constable and has been promoted through the ranks on merit because Sussex Police recognized that he is very, very good at his job.
His intervention in your town has resulted in crime figures being at their lowest for seven years. The articles and news reports I have seen regarding this issue have been hard pressed to identify people either in public life or indeed residents of the town who have cause to criticise him.
The man I know would never intentionally insult or offend anyone. He is not only a very good policeman but also a very good man.
So come on Hastings, stand up for Chief Inspector Ling as he has stood up for you many times. Don’t judge him until the facts are fully known. Look around you and reflect on whether Hastings is a better and safer place now than it was five years ago. Don’t lose him.