Sunday 1 April 2012

Good Cops and Bad Cops???

“That was the week that was, its over, let it go.” Those words will be familiar to those of us who were around in the early 1960’s. They were the opening words to the song sung by Millicent Martin which opened the show and was broadcast live in glorious black and white.

Well, this past week is over and for some I am sure they are happy that is over and they will be hoping that the public will let it go. However for some people it has been a good week.

The abuse victims now have the Chief Minister’s assurance that they will be receiving financial compensation for the failings of previous administrations. Whilst the media were singing the praises of “the powers that be” for coming forward with the proposals it was disappointing that no one was asking why the process has taken so long. It also failed to recognise that the Council of Ministers had their backs to the wall and had no where else to run or hide. They were effectively shamed into submission by UK lawyers seeking Justice through the UK Courts. One may ask how much extra in financial and in emotional terms has the procrastination cost the tax payers and victims?

It has been a good week for Graham Power and Lenny Harper and it was good to see the BBC via both mediums interviewing Graham Power and asking him to comment on the compensation issue. It should never be forgotten that had it not been for those two officers the ball would never have got rolling. Years of cover ups have now been exposed or are coming to light. Given that there are over a hundred claimants and the number of arrests that followed there can only be the blinkered who will say that the Police investigation was a failure and unnecessary.

Whilst justice for some is still being denied, the Island’s young and vulnerable have much to be thankful for the Historic Abuse investigation. They have every right to believe they are safer because of the investigation and of the procedures now in place to prevent abuse. There has also been a climate change whereby there is now a belief that allegations will be in investigated irrespective of whom the suspect is. However there is still much more to be done and our Authorities must be ever vigilant.

It has not been a good week for a former Centenier who has been charged with abuse offences. For the benefit of readers who live in the far corners of the world, a Centenier is an unpaid police officer who does not have to pass any written and physical test to be recruited. It is a fact that should a Parish fail to elect a Centenier the Royal Court will levy a heavy fine on the offending Parish. It is therefore incumbent on the Parishes to ensure that vacancies are quickly filled.

Jersey still does not have an independent prosecution service and Centeniers decide whether to prosecute and then when necessary charge people brought before them. Apart from Connetables who also sit in our States Chamber, the decision to prosecute and to charge still rests with the Centeniers. Another of the Centenier’s roles is to conduct what is known as a Parish Hall Inquiry which was described by the late Sir Cecil Clothier as follows; “The Parish Hall Inquiry is an ancient Institution in Jersey, but it defies classification in a modern legal framework. Some of those who gave evidence to us would assert that, that is the charm and virtue of the Parish Hall Inquiry. But as a Body we are not easily charmed and we require evidence of virtue.”  

Given the lack of training and accountability it is not difficult to see how the system allowed for the proverbial “blind eye” approach to be conducted. During his BBC interview this week Graham Power made reference to people in high office who had a duty of care but failed to exercise it.

Although he did not name any individuals, no doubt he had in mind people like States Members, Crown Officers, Civil Servants and police officers both States and Honorary. Hopefully the long awaited Committee of Inquiry will shed some light on the short comings of those entrusted with the care of our young people.

However following the Centenier’s arrest it is to be hoped that all the cases he was involved with during his career will be investigated. If there was sufficient evidence to charge him with three cases of assault on young children than it would not have been difficult for him to have adopted a “blind eye” approach when called on to investigate or charge individuals who may have been the subject of allegations of abuse.


  1. Do you believe there will ever be a complete, independent and unbiased Committee of Inquiry, with uncorrupted terms of reference?

  2. Having experienced the Napier Review, I am not confident. I have not been consulted re the Terms of Reference and until I have seen what is proposed and who will oversight of the Committee of Inquiry, it is perhaps a little too early to comment.

  3. Bob.

    The Abuse Survivors being offered a maximum of 60K is another of those un-funny jokes. Bill Ogley walks away with more than HALF A MILLION QUID for what he did, or didn't do just puts it into a little perspective.

    As for the TOR's for the Committee Of Enquiry, you are right to remember the Napier Report and the disappearance of part (d). What confidence can anybody have going by past performance? The Electoral Commission has been hijacked, the COE will be next.

  4. It will be interesting to know what the lawyers final fees will be, I doubt if they will be less than £60K

  5. Nice insightful post.....keep up the good work

  6. The comments here are well made abuse care system

  7. Would you be willing to provide your thoughts on Rico Sorda's latest Operation Blast evidence?

  8. Yes, one is in the pipe line.