Thursday 07 April 2022
The Committee for Home Affairs has published a policy letter seeking approval for Guernsey's first ever Justice Framework, which will be considered by the States Assembly at the 25th May 2022 States Meeting.
The Justice Framework seeks to support the States in maintaining a safe and fair society, which is just and inclusive. It provides outcomes and principles that seek to guide and coordinate improvements to our justice system and specifically matters of justice policy. It covers justice in its broadest sense which includes social, family and criminal justice, which is a relatively new perspective for the community.
The Justice Framework's development builds on an extensive review of the justice system undertaken in 2020, the Justice Review Report, which included capturing the public's views on the justice system. The Committee for Home Affairs' is proposing a seven-year timeframe (2022-2029) for delivery of the justice outcomes in recognition of the breadth of work identified to improve justice within our small jurisdiction's capacity. This timeframe factors in government's needs to respond to and prioritise resources on managing the impacts of recent global shocks and changes such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Brexit and the war in Ukraine, as well as managing the impacts of the rising cost of living.
Recognising the wider factors that can lead to criminal activity, the Justice Framework helps to draw the links to existing actions, plans and strategies across the States that contribute to its outcomes and the outcomes the community wishes to see delivered by government. The Justice Framework provides the community with the parameters for improvements to work within and clearly demonstrates that it will require cross-committee working, delivered in partnership with services across the community, including members of the public.
Actions to deliver the justice outcomes identified in the Framework will be captured in a Justice Action Plan, which will be published once the States has agreed the Framework and following the Government Work Plan debate in June 2022 - this is when government considers its priorities and allocates it resources for the remainder of this political term.
The Committee for Home Affairs' recognises the challenges facing government and will seek to ensure that where possible the justice actions will be phased according to available resources or considered for prioritisation through the annual review of the Government Work Plan.
Deputy Rob Prow, President of the Committee for Home Affairs, said:
'It is with great pleasure that my Committee presents the Justice Framework to the States Assembly. I am grateful for the cooperation of my colleagues across government who have been consulted to ensure that the Justice Framework reflects a cross-committee approach to a broader concept of justice. Justice is not only about law enforcement and addressing criminal activity but is closely linked to social and health factors, such as poverty, education and substance use, which requires us to work together to see the desired improvements.
'Although not one of government's Top Ten Priorities, justice is a matter of great importance for every civilised community and we live in a community which rightly has high expectations to maintain a low-crime rate. As I have said previously, the Committeefor Home Affairs recognises the challenges that government is facing. Funding or resources will not automatically be available and a collaborative approach will be needed to ensure that actions are prioritised and phased, according to our capacity to deliver and the needs, interests and values of the community as understood at this time'.
The policy letter can be read in full at States Meeting Information - States of Guernsey (gov.gg) under 'Items lodged for future States Meetings' heading.