HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER SENATOR IAN LE MARQUAND
OPERATION END-GAME 4
THE ROLE OF HOME AFFAIRS MINISTER SENATOR IAN LE MARQUAND
WHY DID THE 4 ACPO REPORTS HAVE TO BE DISCREDITED?
FORMER CHIEF OF POLICE GRAHAM POWER QPM GIVES THE READERS HIS OPINION
I must thank the http://thejerseyway.blogspot.com/ for supplying the audio for this Blog Posting.
During the previous blog postings we have been looking at the complete breakdown of the rule of law in Jersey. The actions of the former Chief Executive Bill Ogley, former Chief Minister Frank Walker, former DCO David Warcup and then Home Affairs Minister Andrew Lewis have been well documented. The politicised removal of former Chief of Police Graham Power is now a documented fact.
Now is the time to turn our attention to the present Home Affairs Minister Senator Ian Le Marquand (ILM). For all the faults we can lay at the door of Andrew Lewis, and let's be under no illusion, there are many, the actions of ILM far surpass his predecessor. When you put the actions of ILM under the spotlight and scrutinise his handling of the Graham Power suspension and related issues it leaves one feeling shocked and amazed at his total incompetence, arrogance, lack of natural justice, kangaroo courts and his failure to up hold the law and good governance in public office.
Today I want to focus on the issue of the 4 reports by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and reasons given by ILM for not using them. During the suspension reviews conducted by ILM on 13 February and 5 March 2009 we discover that he has done exactly what Andrew Lewis did previously.
2008 - Home Affairs Minister Andrew Lewis suspends GP on;
A letter from David Warcup, a briefing given by David Warcup on the evening of the 11 November 2008 with reference to a Metropolitan Police "Interim" report.
2009 5 March - Home Affairs Minister ILM after two suspension review meetings keeps Graham Power suspended on the Warcup letter, briefing notes from the Warcup and public opinion.
Now, I really want you to think about this. What's missing from the above? What never ever seems to get a look in? What is missing from the original suspension and the continued suspension of Graham Power? What's missing that could have added some balance? I will tell you what.
4 -ACPO REPORTS -
The ACPO Reports caused the establishment a big problem. How could they keep their story going. The ACPO Reports had to be discredited.
This is where the Audio by "THEJERSEYWAY" comes into play.
On 21 March 2010 there was a Sunday Talkack programe featuring Deputy Roy Le Herissier and ILM. The part im interested in concerns the ACPO Reports, what ILM says about them and how he discredits them.
You must remember that ILM is prepared to form a judgement on public opinion and not the 4 Reports produced by Andy Baker (SOCA), Anne Harrison and John Mooney (NPIA). This is what we are dealing with here. You just can't make this up. Even when Graham Power sought Judicial Review the ACPO Reports were not permitted as evidence. Why could this be? Why had the ACPO Reports turned into the establishment's very own Kryptonite? The answer I believe is a very simple one. I will allow you to form your own opinions on this as mine are obvious.
PLEASE LISTEN TO THE AUDIO BEFORE CARRYING ON WITH THIS POSTING.
THE AUDIO IS A MUST LISTEN - The whole programe can be listened to here:
The Audio takes some seconds to load up.
I have published the urgent Oral Question that was lodged by then Deputy Bob HIll after listening to this talkback programe. It is reproduced below.
4. Urgent Oral Question
We then come to an urgent oral question which was due to be asked at the last sitting but was unable to proceed because the Minister was unable to be present and so it was agreed it be held over to today’s sitting.
4.1 Deputy F.J. Hill of St. Martin of the Minister for Home Affairs regarding comments made during the BBC Talkback programme about a senior ACPO officer:
Will the Minister inform Members whether he broke a confidentiality clause by claiming on the B.B.C. (British Broadcasting Corporation) Talkback programme that the Wiltshire Police had identified what the Minister claimed to be a “scandal” involving a senior A.C.P.O. (Association of Chief Police Officers) officer, and if so, why? Would he further state what the conflict of interest was and with whom the person involved agreed to intentionally omit certain matters in A.C.P.O. reports? Has the Minister made an official complaint to A.C.P.O.?
Senator B.I. Le Marquand (The Minister for Home Affairs):
I want to first of all explain to Members why I was not here on the last occasion. Both myself and my wife were struck down on the evening of the Monday at about 9.30 p.m. with a Norwalk-type virus which was not very pleasant and it would not have been very pleasant either for me or for other Members if I had attended on the next day. In answer to the question, there are 2 assertions contained in the question which I do not think are factually correct. In addition to that I will try and answer as briefly as I can but, as is the habit of the Deputy of St. Martin, it is a multi-part question. Firstly, I do not believe that I have broken a confidentiality clause and that is for the reason set out in some detail in my written answer to 5302 to which I would refer Members. Secondly, I do not think that I mentioned the Wiltshire Police in this context. I am not sure of that, and I have not had a chance to check any transcript, but I do not think that I did. My intention on the Talkback programme was to attempt to achieve a better and fairer factual balance in relation to the situation. In particular, my intention was to deal with issues which had been put into the public domain, some by the Deputy of St. Martin himself, presumably on behalf of the Chief Officer of Police, and also by others. Those issues included an assertion that the first and second reports of the A.C.P.O. Homicide Working Group provided a complete defence to the Chief Officer of Police. Now, I have not made any factual decisions on these matters and cannot do so because of the fact that I am involved in a disciplinary matter but when matters were asserted in this way which were not, in my view, in any way balanced, I believe it to be a public duty of mine, as the Minister involved, to correct and to seek to balance the situation where there are clear imbalances in what has been put to the public. There are a number of issues in relation to the A.C.P.O. reports. There are various issues and, of course, it all depends upon what their status was. Were they just a friendly policeman coming alongside to give friendly advice or were they in some sense intended to be independent advice? If they were intended to be the latter and it was my understanding at that time that that was the intention, then there are a number of issues that arise. In particular ...
Minister, I appreciate this is quite a lengthy question but this is turning into an extremely lengthy answer.
Senator B.I. Le Marquand:
I cannot avoid that. [Laughter]
How much longer do you have?
Senator B.I. Le Marquand:
About a third of a page, Sir. It was, after all, given the status of being an urgent oral question. I think it is not improper for me to respond in some detail to a matter which has been deemed to be urgent [Laughter] if I may put it that way. I shall try and be as brief as I can. The issue to which I alluded was an issue as to whether there was a conflict of interest on the part of the senior officer involved. That conflict of interest would be in the area of the fact that that officer was about to apply in Jersey for a senior post in the Jersey police force. Now in my view there was an obvious potential conflict of interest in that sort of situation and the conflict is between the person’s desire to be objective, if it was going to be an objective report, and the temptation to say and to do things to please the senior officers already in the force. That is the issue. I do not believe that I have at any time said that this officer agreed to intentionally omit certain matters in reports. I have, however, said I believe that certain recommendations which were made by the officers were not contained in reports. Finally, I do not believe it would be appropriate for me to make an official complaint at this stage.
4.1.1 The Deputy of St. Martin:
I know my question was lengthy but I have difficulty finding out where the answers were. I think most people were looking really at the “scandal” and I really feel it hardly could be said it was a scandal. Could I ask the Minister whether in actual fact he has seen any of the 4 A.C.P.O. reports and, if so, will he agree then that the senior applicant from A.C.P.O. who was applying for the job had? Two of the reports were published before the actual interview and 2 were published after the interview; would he agree with that also?
Senator B.I. Le Marquand:
The 2 reports which are particularly being relied upon were before the interview. I am not sure of the timing of the other 2; they may well have been after.
The Deputy of St. Martin:
Could I ask the Minister again, has he seen any of the 4 reports?
Senator B.I. Le Marquand:
Yes, I have indeed.
The Deputy of St. Martin:
I did ask, would the Minister then agree that the 4 reports were consistent in the way in which they reported favourably about the way in which the States of Jersey Police were conducting the investigation? Therefore, if there was any scandal surely it would be the fact that there was no scandal because the reports were consistent in the way they reported favourably from before the interviews for the job and then after the interviews for the job.
Senator B.I. Le Marquand:
I do not want to go into detail and expressing a view in relation to the contents of the reports because this is part of the disciplinary process that I am part of. It was the first and second reports which were particularly relied upon and put into the public domain and it is in relation to those that I was seeking to achieve a greater balance.
4.1.2 Deputy T.M. Pitman of St. Helier:
Given that the Minister is, as he says, so essential to the eventual decision on the Chief Police Officer’s suspension, in terms of talking about providing a fairer picture does the Minister not believe that using terms like “scandal” and “scoop” for theJ.E.P. (Jersey Evening Post) as he used to the Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel can only paint the exact opposite picture, intentional or otherwise?
Senator B.I. Le Marquand:
The term “scandal” as I understand it from having looked it up in a dictionary is wide enough to cover improper conduct. If a senior officer puts himself into a position where there is a conflict of interest, or potential conflicts of interest, that is, in my view, improper. The term “scoop” was used by me rather light-heartedly in a particular context and that particular context which I checked from the transcript of the hearing was the context that I had given an interview with the J.E.P.specifically in relation to the timescales in relation to the different reports. I do not want to start talking to the Scrutiny Panel about that detail. I do not find that was being reported before the main Article. That was the meaning of the word “scoop” in that context.
4.1.3 Deputy D.J.A. Wimberley of St. Mary:
I just want to ask the Minister about the review hearing into the suspension. He has talked in his answer at length about balance and I just would like him to comment on the impression given by the transcript which is that the letter from the acting Chief Officer of Police, which is then rebutted by Dr. Brain, seems to be the only evidence that he took serious cognisance of. He said that he could not look at other things like A.C.P.O. reports and so on which gave the other side of the picture and found reasons for not doing so, and I just would like his comments on that.
Senator B.I. Le Marquand:
The factual matters that I had before me in relation to the suspension hearings which I conducted in February and March 2008 were indeed the letter from the now acting Chief Officer setting out concerns in relation to various issues and an extract - I think it was the outline - of the press conference, for want of a better word, which took place in November 2008 which stated certain specific matters. I excluded certain other matters from what I was considering. The decision I had to make was as to whether I should start looking at any of the evidence in relation to the matter. The problem with this, if you start looking at partial evidence, where do you end: you end up in a sort of mini-trial. I am very experienced in the parallel situation which is bail applications where exactly the same situation arises. You make a decision based upon the allegations and the broad sweep of things. You do not allow yourself to be drawn into looking into detailed evidence. The specific issue which is raised by the Deputy of St. Mary was challenged, of course, as part of judicial review proceedings before the Royal Court and the Royal Court upheld the approach which I had taken.
4.1.4 The Deputy of St. Mary:
Can I ask a supplementary on that? The Minister said that in the review hearing he excluded certain other matters and that is the point, I put it to him, why people are uneasy about this process.
Sorry, Deputy, how does this arise out of this question? This question is related to the A.C.P.O. report.
The Deputy of St. Mary:
Well that is exactly it, that those reports do not seem to have been taken into account in the review hearing, so only one side of the story, if you like, and then that is treated and assessed but not the other side and excluded certain other matters and I do not understand why.
Senator B.I. Le Marquand:
Well that is exactly what I have just explained, that the A.C.P.O. reports would have been part of the evidence in relation to the matter. Even if I had looked at the A.C.P.O. reports, and I have subsequently, it would have made no difference to my decision because I do not know the circumstances in which they were obtained. I do not know whether they were followed out properly; I do not know whether they even make sense. Now all these are issues which have to be looked at in a wider context.
4.1.5 Deputy M. Tadier of St. Brelade:
I was obviously there during the scrutiny review. I would like to ask the Minister if he thinks that using terms like “scoop”, which may be appropriate for an ice cream salesman but not necessarily for a statesman, and sensationalising issues by talking of “scandal” on the radio and then not giving evidence on the radio, is partaking in the exact kind of behaviour for which the Deputy Chief of Police ...
Deputy, that is an exact repetition of the question that Deputy Trevor Pitman just asked.
Deputy M. Tadier:
Well, in that case I will leave it.
4.1.6 The Deputy of St. Martin:
I will just ask the Minister would he not really agree that the real scandal is the Chief Executive Officer’s role? He was the person who appointed the Deputy Police Chief. He was then involved directly again with the suspension of the Police Chief with the Deputy Chief Police Officer and now has come forward with recommending that the Deputy Chief Officer should have the suspended police officer’s job. Would he not really think that is the real scandal of what is going on at the moment?
Senator B.I. Le Marquand:
This suspension of the former Chief of Police has been a sham from start to finish.
The Home Affairs Minister must be made to explain his actions. They are not befitting of someone who holds public office. When you look at his actions and the evidence it leaves you baffled as to why a former Magistrate acted in the way he did. Could it be, this is only my opinion, that he gave up his very well paid magistrate job to do exactly this. The establishment needed someone with some form of legal background. They needed someone to help put it to bed. It didn't happen. Some decent politicians along with Bloggers started investigating and have now unravelled a cover-up and suspension that goes to the very heart of the Government and Law Office.
We now come to the reply from Former Chief Of Police Graham Power regarding these issues;
I have been asked by the blog authors to comment on the “ACPO Reports” in relation to the Jersey Historic Abuse Enquiry (Operation Rectangle.). My attention has been drawn to a radio interview and other comments made over the past two years by the current Minister for Home Affairs Senator Ian le Marquand. When commenting on the ACPO reports the Minister has made references to a “scandal” and a serious conflict of interest. He said that the reputation of ACPO would be damaged by the nature of their involvement in the Enquiry.
It might be helpful for readers not familiar with the role of ACPO for me to attempt to summarise the nature of the organisation and its role in relation to Operation Rectangle. The term “ACPO” is an abbreviation for the Association of Chief Police Officers for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Police officers and civilian staff who operate at or above the level of Assistant Chief Constable in police forces in those three countries are members of ACPO. Senior Police Officers in Scotland have a separate professional association. The role of ACPO is not to be confused with that of a Staff Association or similar representative body. The professional and employment interests of Chief Officers are represented by a separate organisation which is the Chief Police Officers Staff Association (CPOSA.) ACPO is concerned entirely with professional matters. Its role includes the development of best practice in policing and the provision of guidance and support to forces facing an exceptional challenge.
ACPO is divided into Business Areas each of which is led by a senior figure, normally a Chief Constable who, in addition to his or her leadership of their own force, will have a wider responsibility for a particular area of policing and will provide guidance and leadership at National Level. The Business Area for the purposes of Operation Rectangle was the one concerned with Crime. At the time of the abuse enquiry it was led by the Chief Constable of an English force.
Once it became clear that “Rectangle” was to become a major enquiry I arranged for the part of ACPO responsible for Crime to be contacted and asked to provide advice and support. Shortly afterwards members of the ACPO Homicide Working Group (HWG) arrived in the Island. They were led by an internationally recognised expert in the investigation of major crime. At that time the person concerned held a senior executive position in the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA.) It might be worth making the point that the experience, qualifications, seniority and credibility of the ACPO team which advised officers engaged in the abuse enquiry exceeded by a huge distance that of any other body which has expressed an opinion on the matter since that time. This includes Wiltshire Police and it certainly includes David Warcup and Mick Gradwell.
It is understood that the terms of reference for the Homicide Working Group are in the public domain as are their reports in relation to the enquiry. I think that it would be fair to summarise the role of the HWG as providing expert advice and support for the investigation and to give a measure of quality assurance.
Readers of the HWG reports will see that they are thorough and professional and go into some of the fine detail of the enquiry. They identify positive aspects of the investigation and they also make recommendations for improvement. Their reports also contain a running commentary on how their recommendations were acted upon. In my view it is fair to summarise that aspect of their work as positive and sometimes complimentary both in relation to the enquiry, and the speed with which the recommendations were implemented. Readers of the HWG reports are entitled to come to their own view on these matters and are encouraged to do so.
In addition to their written reports the working party also provided face to face briefings. I was briefed on a regular basis and attended meetings at which members of the working group communicated their thoughts in detail. I also arranged a series of briefings to key political and government figures. These included the then Minister for Home Affairs Wendy Kinnard, the then Deputy Minister Andrew Lewis, the Chief Minister Frank Walker, and the Chief Executive to the Council of Ministers Bill Ogley. I also established a rule that neither me nor any other member of the force should be present during these briefings. This was arranged so that the discussions could be as open as possible and that there could be no suggestion that the free exchange of information and views had been inhibited by the presence of me or another senior officer. The verbal feedback from Ministers was that this arrangement was useful and in his statement to the Wiltshire enquiry Andrew Lewis says that he and others were told at these briefings that the force was offering a “shining example” of how such an enquiry should be conducted.
Subsequent to my suspension the use of the ACPO reports became controversial in a number of areas, the primary two of which were their non-use in considering whether to impose or maintain the suspension and the derogatory comments, referred to earlier, made by the current Minister.
The issue regarding the non-use of the reports has been explored in detail in other forums and I will attempt to summarise it briefly here. Neither Andrew Lewis in imposing the suspension, or Ian le Marquand in maintaining the suspension, would allow themselves to read the ACPO reports, or to be strictly correct, would not allow themselves to consider them “on the record” when the suspension was being officially considered. What they did or what they read when nothing was being recorded may remain a mystery. What we know for sure is that Lewis enacted the suspension on the basis of a letter from David Warcup which included some very selective quotes from a memorandum by a member of the Metropolitan Police who were separately reviewing the enquiry as a result of a recommendation by the Homicide Working Group. By the time Ian le Marquand reviewed the suspension the Met had insisted on the withdrawal of its material from the process which left le Marquand with even less evidence than his predecessor. This led to a situation whereby the Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police was being kept suspended entirely on the basis of comments made in a letter by the Deputy Chief Officer (made Acting Chief Officer with a salary increase subsequent to the letter,) David Warcup, but the detailed and documented views of the ACPO Homicide Working Group were ruled out of play. As indicated earlier, the ACPO working group was staffed by recognised experts whose advice was widely sought at international level. There is no record of anybody of note seeking the opinions of David Warcup on matters of major crime. Readers can come to their own view as to what this situation indicates regarding the desire of the Jersey authorities to come to a well informed and fair decision regarding the suspension of the Chief Officer of their Police Service. In considering this matter it might be helpful for the reader to consider whether, had the ACPO reports contained something damming and highly critical, Ministers would have been equally determined to rule them out of play. Readers may also wish to consider the plainly conflicted position of David Warcup in the context of the Ministers subsequent comments, which I will now attempt to summarise, as to what in his view constituted a conflict of interest.
The second issue of note relating to the reports are the critical comments of the current Minister for Home Affairs, Senator Ian le Marquand, in which he refers to “scandalous” matters relating to a conflict of interest concerning the role of ACPO. This aspect was “trailed” by the Minister in a series of comments which built up interest and exposure until he eventually revealed what was on his mind. We were told by the Minister that the senior member of the Homicide Working Group had applied unsuccessfully for the position of Deputy Chief Officer of the Force. That was it. That was the “scandal.”
But the implications of the repeated comments of the Minister were plain enough. The suggestion was that the status of the person concerned as a candidate for an appointment in the force had led to some toning down or perhaps outright misrepresentation of what ACPO had to say. It might be worth thinking this through.
To help with this process it might be useful for the reader to consider just whose thoughts were supposed to be influenced by such a deception. Certainly not mine. The selection and appointment of the new Deputy Chief Officer was made by a panel consisting of Wendy Kinnard, Andrew Lewis, Bill Ogley and an advisor from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary. It was done in a Jersey hotel several miles from Police Headquarters. I took no part in the process and did not enter or go within miles the hotel building until the selection had been made and I was to be informed of the result. It therefore could not have been me who was supposed to be influenced by positive comments in relation to the enquiry. If it was anyone it was Ministers and the Chief Executive. But readers may have spotted that there is something not quite right with this aspect of the Minister’s argument. The Minister for Home Affairs is suggesting that a candidate sought to gain improper influence with the Jersey establishment by saying positive things about the Jersey Historic Abuse Enquiry. If indeed he was, then he had got it the wrong way round. The Minister for Home Affairs appears to be saying that ACPO reports in relation to the Jersey Historic Abuse Enquiry were corruptly influenced in a positive direction in order to gain favour with Jersey Ministers. Given the undisguised hostility to the enquiry demonstrated by the Islands government at that time this does not seem probable. So far as I know the Minister has never tried to explain how this would make sense from the perspective of a candidate and I cannot work it out either.
The remaining aspect of this curious set of allegations which readers may wish to consider is the sheer gravity and magnitude of what the Minister is alleging, and his lack of follow-through with the serious allegations he has made. There is no record of the Jersey Minister for Home Affairs writing to the Serious and Organised Crime agency and formally putting to them his allegation that one of their senior executives is corrupt. There is no record of any complaint made to ACPO. There is no record of any request for an independent investigation of the serious allegations made by the Minister. There is just a record of words thrown into the air on Radio Jersey and in the sanctuary of the States. There does not appear to have been any attempt to back those words with evidence or an investigation. Readers can come to their own conclusions with regard to the sincerity, consistency, integrity and truthfulness of those involved. They might also come to their own conclusions regarding whose word can or cannot be trusted in these matters.
And finally, some readers may be concerned that, notwithstanding the overwhelming weight of evidence, the Jersey Minister for Home Affairs, Senator Ian le Marquand, may have been accurate in predicting that his comments would be damaging to the reputation of ACPO. Given the high standing in which that organisation is held throughout the world, that would be a matter of concern. I have therefore taken the trouble to contact former ACPO colleagues, who are still in senior positions in that organisation, and checked with them as to whether there are grounds for concern. So far I have not found a senior member of ACPO who has heard of Senator Ian le Marquand. Or his comments. So perhaps there is no longer any need to worry over that issue. Some readers may be relieved to hear this news.