Friday 02 November 2018
The Bailiwick of Guernsey is 'very well-served' by its police force and border agency, an independent inspection of law enforcement has found.
In its report published today, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services said Bailiwick Law Enforcement had much to be proud of, with the inspectors saying they were impressed by many areas of work.
HMICFRS found that Head of Law Enforcement Patrick Rice had largely met the three objectives he was set when taking on the role: drive out inefficiencies; encourage greater joint working; and increase professionalism. However, it suggested that law enforcement was in an awkward 'halfway house' - neither two separate organisations nor one single entity - and this had limited the benefits of increased collaboration.
The inspectors concluded that law enforcement leaders demonstrated their commitment to meeting public expectations. Inspectors also outlined that crime has been on a significant downward trend since 2007, while the police's rate at detecting crime had improved markedly over the past decade - meeting the 50% target set by the Head of Law Enforcement since 2012, which the inspectors said was considerably better than detection rates in England and Wales.
Law enforcement's joint police and border agency intelligence unit was also praised by the inspectors, who highlighted that they had seen examples where GBA officers had undertaken complex and serious investigations relating to cross-border crime involving overseas jurisdictions. This displayed clear evidence of collaborative working with law enforcement bodies in the UK, Jersey and France.
HMICFRS, which was commissioned by the Committee for Home Affairs to inspect 'the capability and capacity of Guernsey Police and Guernsey Border Agency', also concluded that there were areas that could be improved.
Its report identifies 26 areas for improvement and eight recommendations, some of which are to be progressed jointly by the Head of Law Enforcement and Committee for Home Affairs.
Areas for improvement for law enforcement included improving crime recording data, more effectively challenging inaccurate public perceptions of crime levels, improving its strategic approach to tackling anti-social behaviour, and setting clear expectations for supervisors about the frequency and depth of supervision required during investigations.
It was also suggested that the performance management of the Joint Emergency Services Control Centre could be improved. The Committee is pleased to note since that since the report was written, steps have been taken in this regard. Following the agreement of all emergency services, Guernsey Police has taken on operational responsibility for JESCC.
Two particular areas of concern were governance arrangements, including the lack of clarity about the respective roles of the Committee for Home Affairs and the Head of Law Enforcement, and serious shortcomings identified in law enforcement's information and communication technology (ICT) systems. While acknowledging a recovery plan is in place for ICT issues, HMICFRS said major capital investment was needed.
HMICFRS' recommendations included:
- The Committee for Home Affairs, in consultation with the Head of Law Enforcement and other stakeholders, should carry out a post-implementation review of the combining of the two services. It should also carry out a future options appraisal.
- The Head of Law Enforcement should design and implement an action plan to improve victim care, including more widespread use of care plans and victim personal statements.
- The Committee for Home Affairs should publish a strategic plan that sets out law enforcement's business objectives and priorities. Law enforcement should use this to inform a revised service delivery plan.
- The Committee for Home Affairs, in consultation with the Head of Law Enforcement, should design, publish, and subsequently operate in accordance with, a document that clarifies each party's responsibilities.
HMICFRS stated all its recommendations should be carried out by 31st January 2019. The Committee did not receive the final recommendations until October and, while committed to progressing each of them, believes it is unrealistic to suggest all will be complete within the timeframe set.
Deputy Mary Lowe, President of the Committee for Home Affairs, said:
'The Committee commissioned this review to have an independent assessment of all aspects of law enforcement, which included putting itself within scope for complete openness. We really welcome the findings and feedback from the inspection and are 100% committed to delivering on the recommendations, working in collaboration with the Head of Law Enforcement and his senior team.
'We must be realistic though and I would not want the public to have false expectations in terms of how quickly the recommendations will be met. Some of these are big pieces of work and require careful consideration. The Committee is fully committed to carrying out the recommendations but members are also conscious that we have a new Head of Law Enforcement taking up post in January, who will naturally need to be involved in this work. The community should be assured, however, that we will progress the recommendations as quickly as possible.'
Patrick Rice, Head of Law Enforcement, said:
'The inspectors said that Bailiwick Law Enforcement has much to be proud of, and we are. The combined police and border agency senior management team are delighted that the many successes the two organisations have achieved have been recognised.
'While law enforcement, like any large or complex organisation, has areas where improvement is needed - and we have already made a start on those identified in the report - it is heartening to have an independent inspection confirm that the organisation is serving the community well. We have delivered so much in recent years as a result of continually finding more ways for the police and border agency to work closer together, and this work must continue in the years ahead.'