Court in the Act, which completes the trilogy, concentrates
on the work of the police force, the magistrates' and other courts
in WWII Hastings. As the effects of war took hold, there was hardly
any aspect of home front life that was not controlled by some Government
Act, Regulation or Order, putting even more pressure on already
overworked police officers.
There passed before the magistrates' courts a parade of 'spies',
aliens, pacifists, looters, wartime racketeers and small-time criminals.
Added to these were hundreds of usually law-abiding people, who
found themselves in court for flouting often not properly understood
laws. Sentences were handed down that sounded like something out
Century history: A fine for stealing one onion
from an allotment, a few apples from a tree or vegetable peelings
from a dustbin or a month in prison for allowing light to escape
from behind a curtain.
Meanwhile, the formidable Government Enforcers stalked the land
incognito, seeking to trap unwary traders and citizens and bring
them to justice. Police Court reports from the period 1939 to 1945
give an insight into a little discussed aspect of the locality in
WWII. Vigilant, The Hastings and St Leonards Observer's
1940s columnist, provides background, with comment on the foibles
and morals of a seaside town under fire.