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Law enforcement and Home Affairs ‘work well together’

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HOME AFFAIRS gets no special treatment from law enforcement when raising concerns, its head Ruari Hardy said yesterday.

Picture By Peter Frankland. 13-02-20 Scrutiny hearing at Castel Douzaine Rooms with Home Affairs. Mary Lowe. (27165130)

A new protocol now governs the relationship between Home Affairs and Bailiwick Law Enforcement in response to recommendations in a critical independent report. Committee president Mary Lowe said yesterday that she could see no reason why it could not be shared with the public although it is yet to be released.

Both were speaking at a Scrutiny hearing.

The protocol, which was agreed in July, was created in response to a review by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary that accused Home Affairs of overstepping its bounds by interfering with police operations.

Its report was released in November 2018, with recommendations for changes that should have been made by January 2019.

Deputy Lowe said that, despite the criticism, the committee had a very strong working relationship with Head of Law Enforcement Ruari Hardy.

Mr Hardy said the new protocol was working smoothly and said if he was contacted by a deputy over a constituency matter it would be processed like any other concern.

‘There’s no special treatment for the committee.

‘I’ll designate it to a member of my team qualified to deal with it, like I would any other query.’

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Deputy Lowe stressed that, once she passed a query on, she would not interfere with police process.

‘If somebody contacts us we’ll send it down the line to law enforcement, but then it’s over to them.

‘It’s not for us to say you need to be doing this or you need to be doing that.’

Mr Hardy said that progress had been made towards many recommendations outlined in the HMIC review, including the clarification of the strategic vision for Bailiwick Law Enforcement, a joint-command structure for the border agencies and police.

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‘The command structure is made up of me as head of law enforcement and the most senior officers from the Guernsey Border Agency.

‘The clear vision I have set for that command team is that we have to command the collective responsibility for law enforcement.

‘Within that law enforcement operation there are shared functions.’

He went on to explain that intelligence, business support, finance and procurement were all shared functions and said this allowed them to achieve ‘some economies of scale.’

Frontline roles remained separate, however, due to their specialist nature.

‘Bailiwick Law Enforcement is the capture of those very different specialist areas under one command team, sharing where possible as much as we can while delivering those very detailed specialist services to the public.’

An IT upgrade had reduced time wasted by system crashes, he said.

The radio system, which is coming to the end of its life, will also be replaced this year and new body-worn CCTV is on the way in the next couple of months which he said will be welcomed by officers.

‘Officers value IT such as that because it protects them while they are doing a very challenging and difficult job and have that ability to protect themselves by recording those incidents is a superb use of technology.’

Mr Hardy said these technologies, while useful, created new challenges such as information control.

‘The issue we are now facing is how we manage the data we create as part of our work. For example, digital interviews and body-worn CCTV and data from mobile phones. All of that data creates management issues and that is one of the key priorities we are looking at.’

This progress was appreciated by HMIC representative Matthew Parr who conducted an inspection in December, although the force still had a number of areas to improve on, including the probation centre and the management of high risk offenders.

Guernsey Police are holding off on changes in some areas, said Mr Hardy, because they were waiting on new UK standards to be released to inform their process.

‘For example, the current complaints law.

‘There is a piece of work in the UK around police complaints and it is prudent for us to wait and see how they implement that in the UK and what guidance they give and we will probably follow suit.

‘The one that stands out to me where we don’t have a great deal of experience is the area of anti-corruption.’

He said anti-corruption was perhaps the area furthest away from satisfying the recommendations in the report.

Zach Coffell

By Zach Coffell
News reporter

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