The Jersey Police Authority: Room for improvement?

The note on the States website says: "The Minister for Home Affairs has appointed Advocate Jonathan White as the first chair of the Jersey Police Authority (JPA), the independent body responsible for ensuring the States of Jersey Police is an efficient and effective police force."
 
Personally I think it is a shame that the Chair of the Jersey Police Authority should not be Guernsey; easy commuting distance, and a degree of independence. One of the matters which comes up often is the difficulty in a small Island of finding people who do not have contacts which are potentially sources of bias.
 
It is much harder to avoid that kind of situation, and just as quite a few judges in the Court of Appeal have been from outside the Island, it would be good to ensure some independence. Likewise, it has become possible for Jurats from Guernsey to sit in the Jersey courts. Of course, there are those who will point to all kinds of connections between any lawyers, but  the six degrees of separation theorem shows that many connections can be drawn between people whether lawyers or not.
 
I don't myself hold to conspiracy theories which tar all lawyers from the same brush, not do I believe that Advocate Jonathan White cannot be independent, but it may prove more difficult for him to avoid potential bias, whether conscious or unconscious, because he is local, and knows other members of the local judiciary, probably including the Home Affairs Minister.
 
There is no mention in the objectives of one of the key reasons why it was needed - to provide a "buffer" between politics and police. The Graham Power affair showed how a single change of Home Affairs Minister could mean a complete change of policy, when Wendy Kinnard stepped down, and Deputy Andrew Lewis took over and made a unilateral decision to suspend Graham Power as Chief of Police (although I've always harboured suspicions that he may have been nudged to do so).
 
It is notable that the objectives of a Police Authority in the UK are very similar
 
1 Responsible for maintaining an effective and efficient force
2 Determines local policing priorities. Produces a three-year strategy consistent with National Policing Plan
3 Determines arrangements for public consultation
4 Established as precepting body responsible for budgeting and resource allocation
5 Responsible for appointment and dismissal of the chief constable (subject to ratification by the Secretary of State). Can require suspension or early dismissal on public interest grounds
 
However, there seems to be nothing specific in the Jersey Police Authority (under the States of Jersey Police Force Law 2012) relating to item (5), which is one of the principle reasons why one would be a good idea - to prevent unilateral decisions by the Minister who would have to liaise with the authority before making such decisions.
 
In fact, it is unclear on reading the law whether there is any kind of provision of this sort. As it stands, it appears that the Minister could still - in principle - decide to suspend a CPO without consulting or needing ratification by the Jersey Police Authority.
 
And yet this was one of the reasons set out for a police authority:
 
"The Police Authority will be able to act as a 'buffer' between the Minister for Home Affairs and the States of Jersey Police; it will be in a position to receive information, delve into detail and make decisions without accusations of interference, whilst allowing the Minister to retain a clear political role."
 
What has been observed as a matter of fact is this: the change to Ministerial government means that a change of Minister can potentially destabilise the States of Jersey Police, as the new incumbent may have a very different agenda from the previous one; this is certainly the case with Graham Power, and one of the reasons why he wanted a Jersey Police Authority in place. But it is not wholly clear how the "buffer" arrangement works with regard to suspensions; the law is vague on this.
 
It is also important that the JPA is sufficiently independent politically to prevent that kind of occurrence as occurred with the change of Home Affairs Minister (Kinnard to Lewis), and hence ensure stability regardless of Home Affairs Minister.
 
I'm not wholly sure that will be the case, although it should be remembered that there will be other Committee members (including 2 from the States), so it will function more as an old-style Committee than a one-man band anyway - that's a good check and balance, provided the membership is diverse enough.
 
"matters arising are to be decided by a majority of the members voting but if there is an equality of votes the member presiding has a casting vote"
 
I was talking to a former States member earlier this week, and she said that one of the strengths of the Committee system was that it provided more consensus, and less likelihood of rogue decision making. While it is possible that a Committee Chair can act unilaterally (as happened on at least one occasion during Juliette Gallichan's tenure at PPC), it is less likely to happen, and they are more likely to be pulled into line to justify their position by their colleagues. Ministerial government has lost this kind of sounding board, and while Scrutiny provides a measure of that, it is as outside the Government, whereas the Committee system soundings were internal.
 
"There will be a Chairperson, who may not be an elected member of the States, who will be appointed by the Minister for Home Affairs; up to 4 members, who are not elected members of the States, who have been appointed by the Minister and the Chairperson and up to 2 members, who are elected members of the States, appointed by the States by secret ballot.  "
 
I think it strange that having decided that Chief Ministers and Ministers should be elected by open ballots, this one is a secret ballot! It is I think important that there should be transparency, so we can see who was favoured by whom. The days of backroom deals, and horse-trading behind the scenes, should be gone.
 
Excluded are "the Minister for Home Affairs and the Assistant Minister for Home Affairs; Connétables; States employees and people who are police officers or honorary police officers, or have been so during the previous 5 years".
 
None of the following may be appointed as a member of the Police Authority -
(a) a police officer;
(b) a person who is a member of the Honorary Police;
(c) an office holder of a Crown appointment;
(d) the Minister or his or her Assistant Minister;
(e) a Connétable;
(f) a States' employee;
(g) a person who is bankrupt, whether under the law of Jersey or under the law of a country or territory outside Jersey;
(h) a person who has been a police officer at any time during the previous 5 years; or
(i) a person who has been a member of the Honorary Police at any time during the previous 5 years
 
This is clearly to avoid potential conflicts of interest. But in this respect, it seems strange that past judges, like Sir Philip Bailhache, are not excluded - or presumably could only be excluded if his time as Crown Appointment (as Bailiff) was less than 5 years ago.
 
Crown officers are excluded in the law - but not former Crown officers. Surely those, including those whom (within five years) have acted on behalf of the Crown in prosecutions or as Judges, should also be excluded by the very same principles which give rise to those exclusions elsewhere?
 
Equally, if it can be argued that they could excuse themselves from the decision making of the JPA if there was a potential conflict of interest, the same applies to former honorary police, police offices etc. So I would venture to suggest that the list of exclusions is too narrow, and should also include former Crown appointments (including Bailiff and Attorney-General) and those who have been in the past five years involved in acting on behalf of the Crown.
 
While I would not go so far as to say the appointment of a local Advocate is "incestuous"  as one commentator did, I would argue that there is a clear blind spot with regard to former Crown Officers, where the restrictions which apply to former police officers or members of the honorary police do not apply. This could lead to a bias in appointments, and potential conflict of interests, precisely what the 5 year rule is supposed to prevent. I fail to see the logic in this inconsistency.
 
And on a final note, Steve Smith, writing to the JEP on this matter in March 2010, asked:
 
"If it is still felt we need a police authority, then we should certainly seek to understand whether Guernsey and the Isle of Man have plans to set up police authorities and consider whether a combined approach would save costs and perhaps also benefit us by introducing a broader range of policy ideas."
 
It is perhaps worth crystal gazing and asking whether a joint Authority with Guernsey would not only allow better use of financial resources, but also provide just that extra touch of independence from conflicts of interest and localised bias. This certainly seems to be the way other States bodies are moving, and I would certainly think such a move would strengthen the role of the Police Authority, and also prevent it from being too insular in outlook.

SEX, LIES, TROLLS & VIDEOTAPE OR JUST ANOTHER WEEK TRYING TO RESTORE DEMOCRACY & JUSTICE TO THE CROWN DEPENDENCY OF JERSEY..

'Taking on the trolls! Ministers back new law to allow action against on-line bullies.'

So screamed the front page of the Jersey Evening Pravda last Thursday 25th July. What was this all about?  New proposals being brought forward  between Economic Development, Home Affairs and Jersey's 'Law' Office to apparently stamp out what is widely known as 'trolling'.

In essence, for anyone who has been living in a cave this is the cowardly, revolting pastime of socially inadequate thugs who hide behind countless fake avatars to spread lies, hate and bully innocent people - even very young children - on the Internet. Sometimes even bullying them to the point of suicide. Do I support such initiatives? Of course I do.

Though as the States Member who actually made this problem a political issue by raising awareness to it I do have to observe that you would have thought the above trio might have at least consulted me for my insights. After all, not only have I seen the damage this social disease has done to a whole variety of decent, ordinary people in the island - Shona and I have even experienced this to a staggering degree ourselves first hand.

Applauded - but with a note of caution...

But it is because I have had these unpleasant experiences myself that my one reservation to this - on the surface - wholly welcome new law is that it may yet not end up actually being used for what it should be. That it instead might be a thinly disguised vehicle for attacking and suppressing the service provided by the excellent Citizens' Media blogs that have, over the past few years, been putting Jersey's 'mainstream media' to shame in exposing all manner of political cover-ups and general bad practice.

What exactly do I mean? Not just the twisting of 'law' that has already resulted in unprecedented 'secret court' hearings. But concerns like individuals with complaints against them now in double figures - serious allegations at that including threatening to put caustic soda in an ex-girlfriend's face; sending out anonymous,  sickening, hate-filled posters seeking to smear people for no other reason that the psychopath's personal jealousy.

The setting up of  both 'hate' sites like the pro-child abuse cover-up Farce Blog with its hundreds of fake 'comments', and similarly twisted Twitter accounts. Concerns in fact that go all the way to tormenting recently bereaved mothers; and even posting greeting cards with razorblades glued inside of them to people. Concerns incredibly never resulting in prosecution in Jersey even when the police have often been involved and have even sent files to the Law Office.

Should we be concerned at the fears I raise here?

I would obviously have to say most definitely. After all, just consider we have already quite incredibly had senior figures at the local BBC in the island actually both encouraging people to go on to a hate site set up to vilify a US journalist; and re-tweeting a sick and twisted Twitter account run by the very same psychopath to attack and smear Deputy Shona Pitman - a media executive telling his followers that it was 'amusing'!

Almost as bad it must be said we have had the BBC continuing to read out 'comments' from the same, sick and cowardly thug behind this live on air to listeners as if they were from real people: even when members of the public have highlighted the truth behind such avatars as 'James Le Gallais', 'Sue Young', 'Julie Hanning', 'Jane Care' and countless others. 

Last but not least we really mustn't forget we even have a Data Protection Office which has documented proof of the thug and handful of contributors behind the likes of the defunct Farce blog and its equally twisted successor. Documented proof of sickening trolling yet doggedly won't hand that information over so that legal action can be taken against such thugs by authorities - as they could already under existing harassment laws..

Indeed, just using our own experience of being on the receiving end of a sick and deluded social inadequate thug;  I can genuinely say we went through all of the right channels. We approached all of the right agencies/people. Truth was the experience was really little different to what we found with our highlighting of our non ECHR Article 6 compliant court hearings.

Those who should be putting such abuses right really don't want to risk getting their hands dirty and upsetting the Great and the Good by actually doing their job and denting the rose-tinted myth that everything in Jersey is always perfect no matter how bad the true picture is.

OK. So the proof of the pudding as they say will be in the eating. Yet if one sick and twisted individual known to dozens of victims isn't the first to get his collar felt under this new law then we can all be 100% confident the whole thing is indeed nothing more than a wooden horse aimed at closing down anti-Establishment dissension.

In this Council of Ministers lying seems to have spread like a virus...

Jersey politics certainly may not be unique in this problem. Yet in my experience of dealing with all too many of those at the top of  'ministerial' government these past 6 years - and this term in particular - power and lying really do seem to go hand-in-hand all too often.

Just think back to the very beginning and Senator Gorst in his 'vote for me to be Chief Minister' election pitch of accountable, inclusive government. Right up to this very summer's appalling affront to the public that  was the 'maliciouos', 'fictitious', 'I will NOT be drawn any further' diatribe of  'Bailhache-Gate'.

Yet in checking out comments on the excellent Voiceforchildren blog yesterday lo and behold but I stumbled upon confirmation of yet another one. This latest one revolves around the answer I was given on March 5th this year to the written question re-published below to the Minister for Home Affairs, Senator Ian Le Marquand; the question being on the issue of the Haut de la Garenne child abuse cover-up.

"Can the Minister inform Members whether, in the early stages of the historic child abuse investigation, both a current States Member and an individual still employed by the States and himself facing a number of allegation relating to abuse, went to Haut de la Garenne and attempted to gain access past the Police cordon stating that they needed to collect/remove personal material?"

Is this a lie or is this a... downright LIE?

"The States of Jersey Police have no formal record of any such visit by either party and with the passage of time, there is no-one still serving within the States of Jersey Police who is able to confirm that any such visit took place. "

So answered the Home Affairs Minister. Okay, so the answer was actually slightly longer - even going on to try and muddy the water a bit by throwing in the red herring that Deputy Kevin Lewis might be the cause of any confusion because of his past involvement with the site through his Bergerac days. The message was clearly: don't bother pursuing this because there is nowhere for you to take it and it is all unsubstantiated rumour.

Maybe even that old Establishment Party favourite dismissal - a conspiracy?

Yet just as I already had pretty good information back in March regarding the true identity of the two people who sought to breach the Police cordon, this week the lie I was spun back in March has now been confirmed. And confirmed by no less an authority than former Senior Investigating Office for Operation Rectangle, Lenny Harper. For I quote:

"On 19th February at 3pm Ann Pryke attended HDLG. I was asked to go to the entrance by officers on security duty there. Pryke was demanding entry and a full update on our activities. She was complaining loudly that we had not pre-informed her of our entry to HDLG. I told her it was police business and she should leave.

The following day the Chief Minister Frank Walker e-mailed Graham Power who passed the e-mail to myself. Walker stated that he wanted Pryke fully updated and told of any discoveries. He was told "no" in firm terms and given a number of reasons why it would not be happening. He was also warned that all approaches such as his would be recorded and would be disclosable.

At 5.30pm that day (20th Feb) Danny Wherry turned up at HDLG and demanded entry to recover some items he had left there previously. He was refused and told to leave as it was a potential crime scene.

I am somewhat surprised at Mr Le Marquand's reply for two reasons. Firstly, both visits are recorded on the official security log for the scene, and the e-mail from Frank Walker will also be logged. Secondly, there are a number of officers still serving with the force who could confirm the visits. The Home Affairs Minister needs to do his homework!"

Another line of investigation for the Committee of Inquiry

How is it I have to ask that these blatant instances of what can only be called lying keep on happening as regularly as clockwork? Is it all some bizarre unfolding of pure chance; coincidence? Frankly I think you could get better odds on Senator Bailhache again topping the polls come 2014. This is undoubtedly deliberate policy. The only two questions arising are: just where is the lying originating from and for what purpose?

If Senator Le Marquand has lied to me deliberately then let me tell him now: I will be pursuing him come September with just the same tenacity that I will be doing with Senator Bailhache (no, it isn't over by a long shot, Sir Philip) until he does the required thing within Standing Orders and resigns from the Council of Ministers.

Of course if it is the Police leadership who has lied to the Home Affairs Minister then I equally expect a full statement on who, why and what disciplinary action is to be implemented. Anything less and one really has to conclude this Council of Ministers really does have something to hide. Something that is beginning to appear increasingly worrying and desperate.

Why did Deputy Anne Pryke feel the need to 'demand' entry; to what purpose and under what authority? Why did Danny Wherry turn up and demand he be allowed to 'recover' some items he had left there previously? Indeed, what were these items? Has he ever been interviewed to explain? The questions are of the sort that really cannot be satisfactorily left unanswered.  I mean, just imagine if either of these individuals were facing hushed up allegations from any of the abuse victims....

Meanwhile, maybe I really ought to dust off that 'recall referendum' proposition over the summer and get it lodged after all? Well, there's the trolls and the lies. I guess you'll just have to log on again in a day or two to catch up on the sex and the videotape...

Keep the Faith


 

A Snapshot of Jersey Justice/Administration.




The first segment is of former Health Minister Stuart Syvret which he published on his own Blog HERE

The second is a member of public who contacted Deputy Trevor Pitman and was posted HERE

The third segment is of fellow Blogger, and member of the public, Ian Evans which was posted HERE

The fourth segment is from an ex-pat Brit, member of the public, which is never before seen footage. However we did publish a Blog with another interview which was posted HERE

The fifth segment of former Senior Investigating Officer of the Jersey Child Abuse atrocities, Lenny Harper , and was posted HERE

The sixth segment was an exclusive interview with American Author, and Investigative Journalist, Leah McGrath Goodman, which was posted HERE

The seventh segment is member of public, Team Voice Member, and Blogger Rico Sorda, which he published HERE

The eighth segment is of former Jersey politician, and Human Rights Campaigner Bob Hill, which published HERE

The ninth segment is of Jersey politician, Deputy Mike Higgins and was published HERE

The tenth segment is from a BBC documentary and features Jersey's current, disgraced, Home Affairs Minister, Senator Ian Le Marquand which was posted HERE

The eleventh segment was of a member of the public, and small businessman, Sam Cannon, which was posted HERE

The twelfth segment was of the same member of public/businessman and was published HERE

The final segment is of two Jersey sitting politicians, Deputies Trevor, and Shona Pitman which was posted HERE

WRITTEN STATES QUESTIONS FOR 2ND JULY 2013 – A FEW MORE CONCERNS ABOUT JERSEY ‘JUSTICE’

I outline below my written questions for next week's States Sitting. As I posted earlier, I unfortunately have had to postpone the intended report on the Justice Select Committee meeting with States Members due to picking up a flat tyre; and then needing to rush out again for the Parish Assembly. But this post will go up on Friday latest.
 
Those readers who follow the blog regularly will also notice that the questions below make reference to issues that we have still had no clear answers to despite well-focused efforts. No apologies for this whatsoever - questions that are passed by the system - however flawed it might be - should in turn then be given the courtesy of full and accurate answers.
 
When this does not happen, as is all too often the case, then the only thing to do is keep asking again, and again, and again.Brief comments on the background to each question is also provided underneath.

Written questions to Minister for Home Affairs

 'Has the Minister now handed over all details to officers undertaking ‘Operation Elvedon’ relating to the information he advised the Assembly had been leaked to a UK journalist during a live child abuse investigation by Mr. Gradwell?' 

Comment 

Remember all the fuss made by people like Ben Shenton, Jim Perchard, Sean Power and co when they were trying (unsuccessfully) to link Lenny Harper's name to stories about Police Officers leaking information to national newspaper? 

Well, in stark contrast none of these individuals had anything to say at all about the expose by Citizens' Media that Mr. Gradwell - sickeningly portrayed by the Jersey Evening Pravda as a 'whistle-blower' - was named as leaking information to such newspapers; and done so whilst the Haut de la Garenne investigation was still live.

The Home Affairs Minister promised he would answer this question. But he hasn't. So I am back. Finally, just remember, this is not really about money but professional standards and trust. Indeed, in the UK a high ranking Met Officer was actually jailed earlier this year for this very thing...
 
Written question to Minister for Home Affairs
 
'Given that two independent businessmen have alleged that documents, including police witness statements, relating to the Dean’s suspension and the HG abuse case were read in view of passengers on a flight from Gatwick on 21st March 2013 by the Assistant Chief Minister Senator P.M. Bailhache, can the Minister confirm whether such confidential police documents were supplied to a politician acting, as we are told, simply as a lay member of the Church of England and not within his capacity as a States member and why?'
 
Comment
 
Is this question going to go away? No it won't no matter how much Senator Bailhache might bluster. He has threatened a personal statement. I say: bring it on. He has been caught bang-to-rights and trying to smear both me and, more importantly, members of the public as liars should result in the man who lectures people about the fundamental importance of 'truthfullness' and 'respecting' others biting the dust from the Council of Minister.
 
An important aspect to also keep in mind here. This also is isn't really about how he came to have/be given the documents any more. It is about the fact he wasn't big enough to hold his hands up and tell the Assembly the true facts. 'Chief Minister' Gorst (who knows the men are both genuine and truthful) may have conveniently fled to China to avoid next week's States Sitting but nevertheless - I might just have a little surprise for both of the Senators come  the final sitting 16th July...

Written question for Attorney General

'Given that the court transcripts of a 2009 case, which resulted in James Donnelly being sentenced to 15 years in prison, revealed that a number of other individuals were also identified as abusers by both the individual eventually convicted and the victim, why was no prosecution pursued in this case?'
 
Comment
 
How ironic that, in a week that saw the Chief Minister and his favourite Assistant/Boss meeting with the Justice Select Committee at the Atlantic Hotel; this to assure them over a slap-up meal that all within Jersey 'justice' was absolutely perfect I am again contacted by members of the public with hard evidence that shows nothing could be further from the truth.
 
Believe me, this case - or the 'swept under the carpet' evidence that was never acted upon - has the potential to blow through the halls of Establishment 'justice' like a hurricane. This case also almost certainly has a link to why former Chief of Police Power had to be disappeared. For the record all of this has nothing whatsoever to do with the victim; and no mention of her will be made.
 
It is simply about how under the Jersey 'justice' system it is not what you do that will see you either a scapegoat rotting in jail for 15 years, or walking free - it is who you are. There is no excuses for abusers - yet this kind of 'justice' cannot be allowed to go on. At this point nothing more really needs to be said. I have the evidence. I will just wait and see what the Attorney General has to say...
 
 
Written question to Attorney General 
 

'Now that the 'Secret' Court process against former Senator Syvret has concluded; will H.M. Attorney General clarify what has been the total cost thus far, whether public funding was made available equally to all four individuals involved, were they also required to utilise their own funds and was Mr. Syvret given “equality of financial arms”?'

Comment

 
Ah! The case no-one was allowed to speak about on pain of death. or at least on pain of having your door kicked in and your laptop and underwear rifled. The discerning reader will note the word 'secret' highlighted in red within the question. this case was as secret as you could get outside of a US rendition flight. But the Bailiff made me take it away. Not that he told me he was doing so until it was lodged! There will be an oral question coming fairly soon on this subject.
 
Secret court hearings shouldn't be happening in a place like Jersey anyway. Period. I mean, its bad enough that the JEP and Broadlands are being allowed to try and gain financially from a court case that saw the former allowed a jurat on the case who was conflicted and as suspect in commitment to 'justice' and assessing 'evidence' as one could ever hope to be. Burying bothersome, outspoken politicians behind closed doors is positively 1930's Germany in both tone and sinisterness.
 
Look out for a 'but the case is not fully concluded so no comment can be made' excuse in response. To which I will simply re-submit the question again, and again. We simply cannot have despicable thugs being given our money to oppress people of whom they are actually the abusers. I repeat: its our money; thousands and thousands of pounds of it. We have a right to know how it was spent; to whom it was given and just why?
 
Keep the Faith.
 
Justice Select Committee in Jersey Part 2 will be posted on Friday.