Below is a Press statement that, to the best of my knowledge, has been sent to all local “accredited” press or “news” outlets.
I thought it best to post it on a Blog, just in case it doesn’t get to see the light of day with our “accredited” press. It has coincidently come at a pretty good time as I will be publishing a Blog on VFC later tonight that will further demonstrate the struggle Chief Officer Graham Power has had, and is having, trying to find out “the truth” behind his (illegal?) suspension. And believe me this will be a posting that nobody will want to miss!
Mind you, this Press release makes for pretty scary reading in itself. There is becoming little doubt that the suspension of Chief Officer Power was a big mess and possibly even bigger mistake of our “ruling elite”.
#NEWS UPDATE. JANUARY 2010.
This update has been issued by friends of the Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police. It is intended to assist editors in reporting any issues which may arise in connection with his current suspension from duty. Please note that the Chief Officer is not able to speak personally to the media.
THE CHIEF OFFICER OF THE STATES OF JERSEY POLICE IS TO RETIRE THIS YEAR.
The contract of Graham Power, QPM, Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police, requires him to retire in 2010. His terms and conditions require that he gives six months notice of his retirement date.
Mr Power was sworn in as a Police Officer in 1966, and served in a number of senior positions in the UK before moving to Jersey in 2000. In 1994 he was decorated by the Queen for distinguished service. He will be 63 this year. He reached his designated “Normal Retiring Age” under the Jersey Public Employees Retirement Scheme in June 2007. Since then he has been engaged under a contract and terms and conditions which provide for him to work beyond his retirement date. The extended contract was approved by the States Employment Board in order to preserve continuity in the police management team at a time when a number of senior officers were all due to retire within a twelve month period. However, in doing so the Board determined that the Chief Officer must retire before the end of 2010. His notice period is six months. His intended retirement date must therefore be given in the first half of 2010, and in any event no later than the end of June. Mr Power’s specific retirement plans and his intended retirement date have so far not been publically disclosed. Editors will recall that since 2008, statements issued by friends of Mr Power have repeatedly said that he will retire in 2010, and that this information has regularly appeared in the public domain. Details of his contract dates and his terms and conditions are known to Ministers.
In 2008 Mr Power was suspended from duty by the former Minister for Home Affairs, Deputy Andrew Lewis, and informed that he might face disciplinary action. Wiltshire Police were appointed to prepare a “preliminary report” for the Minister to consider.
· No disciplinary action was taken in 2008.
· No disciplinary action was taken in 2009.
· No notification has been given of any decision to take disciplinary action in 2010.
· It is understood that although an incomplete draft report has been made available, Wiltshire Police have not finished their enquiries and that a completed report has not yet been presented to the Minister.
· Should the Minister for Home Affairs, after studying the completed report, eventually decide to take disciplinary action, this would need to be done in accordance with the process set out in the relevant Disciplinary Code. The disciplinary and appeal process for the Chief Officer of Police involves an initial meeting, and then potentially three separate hearings to consider the evidence. It is estimated that once it has been commenced the process could take up to a year to complete.
· Mr Power has consistently denied any wrong-doing and stated that he would strongly contest any disciplinary allegations which are made.
In November last year the total costs of the suspension and the Wiltshire Police investigation were given as approaching £700k. It is projected that they could reach £1m in 2010. To date no disciplinary charges have been brought and no hearing has been called.
Note to Editors (1)
Editors may have noticed what appears to be some attempted re-positioning of the purpose of the Wiltshire enquiry in statements made by the Minister for Home Affairs towards the end of last year. This has often occurred when the Minister has faced questions on the cost and value of the enquiry. For example, in a radio interview on 20th November 2009 the Minister spoke of the potential value of the Wiltshire report to any future public enquiry into the historic abuse issue. When answering a question in the States on 8th December he spoke of what he alleged was the adverse publicity for the island in February 2008, and the need for responsibility to be “unravelled in due course.” He also referred to the responsibility of “senior police officers” (note plural.) In answering the same question he is reported to have said “It is my belief that the public actually want to know what happened in February 2008 and the months after.”
Friends of the Chief Officer have taken advice and cannot reconcile the statements by the Minister with the known purpose and legal framework of the Wiltshire investigation. The Chief Constable of Wiltshire was requested to prepare a “preliminary report” under local police discipline procedures. The purpose of the Wiltshire investigation is to assist in determining whether there is evidence of misconduct by the Chief Officer which merits consideration by a disciplinary hearing. Police disciplinary reports are confidential documents and discipline hearings are held in private. The relevant Disciplinary Code (paragraph 1.2) provides only for the “outcome” of a case to be publicised. However, the code stipulates that even this may only occur if circumstances justify departure from a general rule of confidentiality. There is no provision in the Discipline Code or the Law for anything else to be made public. Article 9(4) of the Police Law specifically requires that any discussion in the States be held “in camera.” Wiltshire Police are preparing a report which is focussed on one person, and subject to strict rules of confidentiality. It is not therefore apparent how the investigation can serve any of the wider purposes suggested by the Minister.
Note to Editors.(2)
Editors may be aware of a media report in December 2009 which made reference to a Senior Police Officer being due to face a disciplinary hearing in February. That report related to a different officer. The allegations in that case are unconnected to the historic abuse enquiry or to any other matter affecting the Chief Officer.
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