Following on from Chief Police Officer Graham Power’s Briefing notes to the media the first one being HERE. Team Voice are happy to bring to our readers, the second in this series.
One must remember ALL island “accredited” media have copies. As the story is unfolding, we are more, and more able to become aware as to how Senator Le Marquand, and others, have been “operating”.
Briefing note 2. July 2010.
The following briefing note has been issued to Editors by Graham Power in order to assist with the reporting of issues relating to the decision by the Minister for Home Affairs to abandon all disciplinary proceedings.
How did all the delays happen?
There is already a lot on this subject in the public domain regarding missed deadlines and commitments which have not been kept. (Remember that the Minister originally stated that he expected to be in a position to take decisions in respect of the Wiltshire investigation in March 2009.)
This briefing note will seek to set out some additional information which may not yet be in the public domain.
Key to the issue is paragraph 2.1.2 of the Disciplinary Code for the Chief Officer of Police which sets out the processes which must be followed before there can be a disciplinary hearing. All media organisations have previously been provided with a hard copy of the Code. I do not have an electronic copy available at this time but will search further and forward one if it can be found.
Three features of this paragraph of the code are relevant for the purposes of this note. The first is the requirement that the Chief Executive (in this case the Deputy Chief Executive) conducts a “Preliminary Investigation” (in this case assisted by the Chief Constable of Wiltshire.) The second is that the Chief Executive prepares a report on his investigation, which has been referred to as the “Preliminary Report.” The third is that the Minister and the Chief Officer are provided with copies of the Preliminary Report and meet to discuss its contents along with the Chief Executive and representatives as appropriate. It is at this meeting that the Minister has to decide whether the matter goes any further, for example to a disciplinary hearing. It is probable that the authors of the Disciplinary Code saw the meeting as an opportunity to settle matters without further formal process. We cannot be sure of that. What is however certain is that there can be no disciplinary hearing until both parties have received copies of the “Preliminary Report” and a meeting has taken place. It may therefore be worthwhile exploring the history of the “Preliminary Reports” in this case and the meeting which did not occur.
On 11th February 2010 the Deputy Chief Executive wrote to me and said that he had received the information he needed from Wiltshire to produce a Preliminary Report in relation to the management of the Historic Abuse Enquiry and that he expected the Minister to arrange a meeting “as soon as possible” in order to progress matters under the Code.
It was however not until 19th April 2010 that received a copy of the “Preliminary Report.” This nevertheless appeared to clear the decks for a meeting with the Minister under the Code and for the process to move forward.
However, at this point an issue arose which was the subject of correspondence over the following months. Namely, was the proposed meeting about “Haven 1” (the abuse enquiry) alone? Or would it also cover “Haven 2” (Operation Blast?) It was hard to get a clear answer to this question but eventually it emerged that the Minister appeared to want to deal with both issues together. That being the case he then had to comply with the requirements of the Code in relation to “Haven 2” and provide a further preliminary report. But by that time “Haven 2” was seriously behind schedule. It did not get off to a good start. The investigation was announced by the Minister in June 2009 (source-Hansard) but no Investigating Officer was appointed until September 2009 (source – letter from the Chief Constable of Wiltshire.) Even then it was clear that the estimated timescale of “three to four months” (source-letter from Chief Constable of Wilts) was seriously over-running.
An exchange of letters took place in April 2010 in which the Deputy Chief Executive spoke of his intention to arrange a meeting under the Code. I replied reminding him that the meeting could not take place until the Preliminary Report in relation to “Haven 2” had been received and studied by the parties. I also asked for a draft agenda for the meeting. I did not receive an agenda and I did not receive a Preliminary Report. A similar exchange took place in May 2010. Again, I did not receive an agenda or a Preliminary Report. It therefore remained impossible for a meeting to take place in accordance with the Code.
Running alongside these exchanges were discussions I was having with the HR Branch of the Chief Ministers Department, regarding the administrative formalities associated with my retirement. As part of this exercise I asked that Department (who I should add have been courteous and professional throughout) to designate my “last working day.” Most readers will be familiar with this process but I will give brief details for the benefit of any who are not. In order that retirement can be a “clean break” it is necessary to identify any outstanding entitlements, such as untaken leave, and to resolve these before the actual retirement date. This ensures that after retirement neither party has a claim on the other in respect of untaken leave or related issues. The Chief Ministers Department applied this process and identified Tuesday 15th June as my “last working day. I was told that I would thereafter be on leave until the end of my service. Having been given this written assurance I made appropriate leave arrangements with my family.
Subsequently, the “Preliminary Report” in relation to “Haven 2” was delivered. It was sent to my home address by courier and was received and signed for by a family member who was at the house at the time. Its receipt is therefore a matter of record. The delivery of the Preliminary Report took place on the morning of Wednesday 23rd June 2010 over one week after my “last working day.”
My professional representative, Dr Timothy Brain, learned of the delivery and wrote to the Minister pointing out that my “last working day” had been and gone and that matters were effectively at an end.
While I am not an impartial judge in these matters, the sequence of events does appear to raise some questions regarding the extent of the Ministers commitment to allow a hearing of my case. Why for example did he not proceed on the basis of “Haven 1” when he was in a position to do so? Also, what was the thinking behind providing a copy of the Preliminary Report for Haven 2 after I had effectively retired? Was it some sort of token gesture or had the Minister simply lost sight of the passage of time?
Whatever explanation is correct there is some irony in this sequence of events. The whole saga began in November 2008 in a confusing exchange in the midst of a family holiday.It appears to have ended the same way.
I hope that this note is helpful. Other notes will be circulated as issues are identified.
Submitted by Team Voice.
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