Tuesday, July 13, 2010
ILM'S CONCLUSIONS - WILTSHIRE 1
From Senator Le Marquand July 13th 2010
Here are some extracts from his statement released to states members today. The case for the prosecution
This ILM'S conclusions from Wiltshire
As the current home affairs minister,with responsibility for the oversight of the states of jersey police i wish to make a number of apologies for the past failures of the senior management of the states of jersey police and for past ministerial failings
Firstly, I apologize to the people of this island for the serious reputational damage which occurred both to this island and to its people as a direct result of serious mishandling of the press conference and by virtue of the misleading information which was put out in these press conferences during February 2008 onwards.
Secondly, I apologize to the victims of abuse ( should be bloody first),whether at Haut dela Garenne or elsewhere for the unfair and unrealistic raising of expectations which occurred as a result of these press conferences.
Thirdly, I apologize to the people of jersey for the ministerial failures of proper oversight of the states of jersey police. There are mitigating factors in relation to this but there are still clear failures. Those failures extend to the substantial wastage of public money some of the details now follow.
Fourthly, I want to apologize to members of the states assembly who were mislead in various matters including the status of the item which was described as "partial remains of a child" and later as a "skull fragment"
Mr .Harper should never have been appointed as the senior investigating officer. This is a specialist role and neither Mr Harper or Mr Power had either performed this role or received any training for this role for more than 10 years. The decision was made effectivly to conentrate control of the investigation on the two senior officers,messers Harper and Power. In fact all other members of the senior management team( that is the superintendent and the 3 chief inspectors were kept away from the investigation.
Whenever there is a major investigation there must be another more senior police officer who takes the supervisory role.Once the decision was wrongly made that mr harper would be senior investigating officer there was only one officer who was senior to him and that was mr power . Mr power therefore had to become the supervising officer in relation to the Haut de la Garenne investigation and this in addition to his inherent responsibilities as the Chief Officer of Police.
These relate to oversight
The first failure is insulting to states members who were raising legitimate concerns.
( I believe he called them elves & pixies. rico sorda)
The second failure includes a very sick Joke. This,in my view, shows an anti Jersey Slant which is totally inappropiate for a person who was there to serve the people of Jersey.
( I believe the joke was this, and was a dig at the jersey authorities> What is the difference between a Jersey orphan and a Jersey royal? least a jersey royal gets dug up after 6 months.) They checked thousands of emails and found 2 dodgy ones. rico sorda)
CONCLUSION 5 AND 12
These really belong together. it is apparent that both mr.harper and mr power were in position in which they did not trust any outside organisation including the prosecution service.This led to them deciding to concentrate the leadership and management of the Haut dela Garenne investigation upon themselves alone.
It is extraordinary that very little or no thought was given to the impact of the investigation upon the general public of jersey
This is in mr power's favour although i am bound to sat that this was at the expense of very high overtime costs and very long working hours for some officers.
This is actually very important. Gold command groups have for number of years been viewed as an essential part of and major investigation. The reasons for this are presumably the same as mentioned above,namely, the desire to exclude outside agencies and the other members of the senior management team. A properly constructed GOLD Group would have given due priority to financial management issues and would ha ve meant that decisions making was less dependent on judgement of mr harper
These are . in my view less serious although they relate to management issues and are further examples on of the general managerial failures . The independent advisory group deserve praise and thanks for their willingness to assist with the investigation,they were in reality set up to fail and this through no fault on their part.
This is also in favour of mr power.
CONCLUSION 14,15, 16 AND 17
These four conclusions all relate to failures on the part of mr power to exercise oversight over the area of media strategy. The failure includes the lack of proper media strategy and the carrying out of that strategy. IT should have been obvious to a chief officer of mr power's experience that once the media became aware that digging was taking place in the vicinity of a children's home, that wild speculation might arise from the press. Instead on 23rd feb 2008, mr harper was allowed to make a highly infalmmatory and misleading statement about "partial remains of a child". Mr power was present at Haut dela Garenne before the statement was made and they must have discussed what was going to be said. If they did not then he is equally at fault for failing to do so.
What had happened was that a piece of material had been found which was approximately 6.3cm by 4.4cms, that is approximately two and a half inches by one a 3 quarter inches. It has sometimes been wrongly reffered to as the size of a 50p coin but it is no longer than that. Unfortunately,on 23rd feb2008, this piece of what we now know to be cocnut shell was wrongly identified by an anthropologist as being part of a child's skull.This was an extremely unfortunate occurance but it was not not yet a disaster .It is extremely questionable if the anthropologist shaould have offered such an identification without proper laboratory testing of the item. It is also clear that at the time of the "find" it was not known whether the object had been found in a level dating,mr harper chose to announce to the worlds media that they had found waht appears to be potential remains of a child.The worlds media very quickly turned that into the find of a child's body.
Thereafter, mr harper commenced daily briefings during which he fed huge amounts of deatil about the search to an eager world media. Those briefings and the underlying failures of press strategy are very heavily criticised in this report and rightly so.
Some months after Warcup & Gradwell had arrived on the scene, the states of jersey police employed an expert on police press strategy matters. After a meeting with mr.power which mr power would not accept what the expert was saying, the expert found his position untenable and resigned.However,before leaving he wrote a report which was highly critical of the strategy . T hat report was reffered
to by a commisioner of the royal court in a judgement in which he was highly critical of the media strategy. The problems with the handling of the media were very serious for a number of reasons.
( I will not list them all as i,m getting tired typing)
THE ROLE OF ACPO HOMICIDE WORKING GROUP
There has been a great deal of misinformation put into the public domain in relation to this and I, therefore want to explain the position of wiltshire police and mine on this
Firstly, What we are dealing with here is not ACPO but a group of police officers whose role is to provide specialist advise when this is required in relation to homicide investigations. Section 2.3 of the executive summary of the main report on the HdelaG investigation explains some of the issues. it is to the credit of mr power that he sought such advice. However, things rapidly went wrong. The working group advisers decided to only make recommendations to which Messrs Power and Harper had previously signalled their approval
In particular their to form a Gold group was omitted because messres poer and harper did not want one. This whole process greatly undermines the credability of the advice . It was mr harper who first made contact with the senior officer 16 involved rather than a request for assistance being channelled through ACPO itself.
Furthermore, the senior officer involved had a clear potential conflict of interests in that he was then a candidate for a very senoir post in Jersey namely that of mr harper's replacement . Unfortunately, this officer put himself in a position in which he could have had a motive to want to ingratiate himself to mr power who would be involved in the selection process.
Furthermore, at times messrs power & harper failed to understand and carry out the advice which was given and the responsibility for oversight of the HdelaG investigation always remained squarely with mr power as the overseeing officer.The advice of the working party did not extend to financial management issues with the exception of one general recommendation.
Notwithstanding all this , I agree with the assessment of the wiltshire police that the involvement of the working party may have given mr power a false sense of security
However it is very clear from the wiltshire report and particularly from section2.3 that the working party reports are very far short of providing mr power with a defence in relation to the conclusions of the wiltshire police and that they have taken into account in reaching their conclusions.
Finally. i a aware that the working party reports were used by mr power as a means of placating his own minister and assistant minister in relation to the concerns which they and other states members were raising. It is,therefore,particularly galling to find that the advice rcorded was far from complete and far from truly independent.
ISSUES FOR PRESENT AND FUTURE
Firstly , it is clear from the above that the present acting chief of police is fully vindicated by these reports. He had no honourable option but to bring the clear failures of oversight and management which he had found to the attention of home affairs minister deputy andrew lewis. It is very unfortunate that mr warcup has himself been subject to unfair and unsubstantiated innuendo and criticism from both past and present members of the states.
Im so bored of typing now I will stop.
Make your own conclusions over the coming days
One things for sure, this part is now coming to an end.