Herald Opinion: Mark Ling... a top cop with a good deal of baggage

In whatever senior role he fits into, Mark Ling will be a valuable asset to those heading up Eastbourne’s police force.

Here is a man with a previously unblemished police career who is much admired by the vast majority of his colleagues, and widely supported by community leaders.

But here also is a man who through a moment of madness or a woeful lack of judgment, sent an offensive text that was to put his career on the line.

Humbled firstly by his suspension and now found guilty of gross misconduct while in post as district commander, Hastings’ top policeman was facing humiliation.

A week after that guilty verdict, we now know that Mark Ling has been moved out of his role in Hastings and is set to take up a very senior position in Eastbourne.

To many, it will seem like a cosily cooked-up plan by the police to look after one of their own. A man of much-acclaimed talent; what a waste for his career to end so prematurely. A home-grown East Sussex boy who cared passionately about the patch he was policing.

All that said, Mark Ling’s transfer will leave a bad taste for others. What of the feelings of that next family to find itself at the centre of a racial attack in the town, or for the young copper accused of racism?

Mark Ling has been given his second chance and it seems there are few who know him or the quality of his work, who would object to that. But he has to accept that he will be watched like a hawk, from both within and outside.

Eastbourne is getting a top cop but also a good deal of baggage into the bargain.


IT is time for the recriminations to end over the state of Eastbourne’s Wish Tower restaurant. We are where we are. At least the council now has the keys back.

To coin that most modern of phrases, the Wish Tower is no longer fit for purpose. It’s fate in the short-term is for it to be shrouded by tastefully painted hoardings that will hide at least some of its embarrassment.

Demolition is the next step but until then Eastbourne must live with another mothballed seafront attraction.

Treasure Island went the same way early this year and spent the summer eerily quiet, bereft of the babble and laughter of children.

The Wish Tower makes for a similarly sad sight and yet has such potential. Perched high above the beach and the lower promenade, it would offer a wonderful setting for a top notch cafe or - as council bosses hope - a signature restaurant.

Our appetites are now whetted and a partner for that project should be speedily sought.