Speech – Police Complaints Commission

SPEECHES

Police Complaints Commission

Sir,

Reading through the Report, there were three points that sprang to mind. The first, as my colleagues have touched on, the lack of statistics in that Report. Because I am new to this, I went back through the history of how we came to have a Police Complaints Commission, and found the States’ report from 2005 in which it was proposed to set one up. In that report there are statistics from the first three years of the Jersey Police Complaints Authority 2000-2002. We are given only a brief statistical digest of the nature of the complaints that were investigated and the outcomes of those, whether they were substantiated or not. But it was more information, at least, than what is presented here. I would submit that at the very least we should aspire to achieve something similar for Guernsey.

The second point, which Deputy Roffey has already amply covered, is the need to see progress on the review of the legislation, and I look forward to the response from the President of the Committee for Home Affairs.

The third is a more general point arising from the point made in the Report that structurally, although this is an independent Commission, it is supported by the Committee for Home Affairs; there are a number of other such independent organisations that are financially supported or supported by staff who are employees of the States and, as a general point of principle, this may be something that the States wish to consider further over this four-year term.

I also stand to speak because I felt it was important to put on record, in general, the importance of having a Police Complaints Commission in a modern democracy, where policing must be by consent. This was underlined to me when I was researching the origin of the Police Complaints Commission here, and I found that internationally it was cited in reports on Guernsey’s Compliance with the International Convention Against Torture.

My first reaction to that was one of surprise, but then of course I recalled that Law Enforcement has life changing power over others and it is absolutely right that we are assured that that power is used justly and proportionately and that our trust in Law Enforcement to protect our liberties is well placed.

In that respect, I think continued and detailed scrutiny of this Report, and others, from the Commission is absolutely vital in building that trust.

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