I did not comment on the proposition to purchase the Plemont headland. This was championed by our Chief Minister Ian Gorst, Senator Bailhache, Senator Ozouf, the Jersey National Trust and local media. The approved Planning application was even described as “rape.” I did however devote several Blogs in an attempt to save a playing field along with its cricket and football pitches. Interestingly not one of the aforesaid lent any support in opposing the application “rape?” to replace the existing St Martin’s School by building on its playing field. Double standards and hypocrisy methinks.
In April I published a Blog “Good Cop, Bad Cop” following a former Centenier (honorary policeman) being charged with sex offences against young girls. Last month the Centenier was found guilty and will be sentenced next month. I did question whether anyone would be looking into any of the sexual cases the Centenier may have handled whilst in office. The question remains unanswered.
If the Centenier was a skeleton in the cupboard there was a more grotesque
skeleton in the form of Jimmy Savile who was exposed a few months later.
I published a couple of Blogs relating to the possible use of Taser Guns by our Police Officers, notwithstanding the States Police being able to justify an extension to its armoury. It is apparent that Taser Guns will be issued next year. How soon will it be before the lethal weapons are in common use?
It has been reported that a possible replacement for the former Auditor General has been found. It should be recalled that the former Auditor General had resigned after raising serious concerns about Senator Ozouf’s intervention into the financial arrangements relating to the possible relocation of the police headquarters. Senator Ozouf felt that he had been unfairly criticised and found guilty without a trial. In an April Blog I accused the Senator of shedding crocodile tears as he had been quite content for other people like the former police chief to suffer the same fate. It is evident that they were crocodile tears because a few months later when the Senator had an opportunity of supporting a proposed Inquiry, he opposed the proposition.
I also devoted some Blogs on the proposed Committee of Inquiry (COI) into the Historic Child Abuse. Not only was I concerned at the delay but also of its possible composition and terms of reference (TOR). The wheels have turned very slowly but at last a proposition has been lodged and is down for debate next month.
Verita was entrusted with coming forward with recommendations and although the Chief Minister is claiming that its recommendations form the base for his proposed TOR there are some significant omissions whereby they fall far short of what is expected if the COI is to be meaningful.
It is heartening that plans are in hand to lodge amendments which will no doubt be the subject of future Blogs, but will the amendments have the Chief Minister’s support?
Along with others, I published a Blog on the Electoral Commission’s role which included my submission to it. I did propose that Jersey follows the Guernsey format with Districts, one form of States Member with a 4 year term of office. It was no surprise to read that the Electoral Commission bottled out of recommending that Connetables should no longer be ex-officio. I understand that arrangements are in hand for a referendum, if the result is that the Connetables role should end, will States Members have the courage to listen to the public?
I also published 3 Blogs on the Curtis Warren arrest. The Blogs have certainly been well read with many comments being received. It is not disputed that the police officers unlawfully bugged the car. Having made the arrest the procedure that followed was out of their hands. It was open to the Attorney General’s office to refuse to prosecute. It was also open to the Courts to refuse to hear the case and having been found guilty it was open to the Court of Appeal to overturn the verdict.
The police officers not withstanding their unlawful action; prevented a large amount of drugs illegally entering the Island and acted in a manner they thought best. It could be said that it was for the greater good. What I find hypercritical is the condemnation from the Courts and now over five years later charges of bringing the police force into disrepute have been levelled against the arresting officers.
Surely if the Officers allegedly brought the States Police into disrepute it was in 2007 so why has it taken so long to bring discipline charges? In answers given to the former Senator Shenton some three years ago an estimated £3m had already been spent on police and court costs, goodness knows how much more the case has cost since and will continue to cost. Given the cost one is entitled to ask who is really responsible for the events that followed the arrest in July 2007 and should they not also be made accountable?
2012 has indeed been eventful and no doubt so too will 2013. I have raised a number of questions but will they be satisfactorily answered? The Plemont headland issue will continue to rumble on and a new St Martin’s School will be built on its playing field. The Centenier will be sentenced, but aged 77 will the punishment fit the crime? Police Officers will be issued with Taser guns which will further distance them from the public. A new Auditor General will be appointed but will she be subjected to political interference?
There will be a referendum to decide the future States format, what are the chances of the status quo remaining? Will the COI terms of reference be amended to give it the teeth to conduct an open and meaningful inquiry? Lastly how much more public money will be spent or “wasted” on the Curtis Warren case, it seems that the only winners will be the lawyers.
In a few hours time we shall be saying adieu to 2012 and bonjour to 2013, apart from extending my seasonal greetings to you all, I would also like to thank you for not only reading my blogs but to those who have submitted comments. Although I don’t know who reads my Blogs I know that readership is worldwide and I often wonder what it is about my Blog that raises your interest in Jersey in the first place, but your interest is much appreciated.
On a final note it was January 1st 1961 that I flew to London to join the Metropolitan Police the next day. Sitting along side of me on the plane was Ted Vibert, who I knew as an aspiring journalist and a fellow footballer. Ted like me some 30 years later was elected to the States. I have always considered his summing up in the Trinity Landfill debate to be one of the finest during my 18 years in the States.
On my arrival in London I stayed overnight at Gilmour Section House which is situated near to the Elephant and Castle in south London. I remember going for a drink, and also sharing a piece of my mother’s Christmas cake with a police officer named Hilton Cole who was transferring to the Met Police from Wales. Within a few months Hilton made world news and became known as the first UK police officer to arrest some one via the Identikit system. As one will see he arrested Edwin Bush who admitted murdering shop assistant Elsie Batten and was later executed.
As Hilton was a transferee he only had to attend a shortened training course so did not join me at Hendon. Attached is the fine body of recruits who were the first of the 1961 intake. Can anyone pick me out?