Thursday 09 July 2020
Significant steps have been taken by the Committee for Home Affairs and Bailiwick Law Enforcement (BLE) to address recommendations from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), a follow-up inspection has found.
Following the initial report, published in November 2018, inspectors were invited back by the Committee for Home Affairs in 2019. The visit was made in early December and inspectors found that five of the eight recommendations from the initial inspection have been fully dealt with. Progress has been made on two more and one is outstanding.
Released today, the update report also outlines that many of the 'areas of improvement' for Law Enforcement have been either fully addressed or made progress. Of these 26, nine are completed, progress made on 16 and one is outstanding.
Among the successful steps taken were the signing of a protocol between the Head of Law Enforcement and the Committee forHome Affairs, which outlines and clarifies each party's responsibilities. The inspectors also found that the working relationship between the Committee and Law Enforcement had "improved considerably" since the previous visit.
BLE's future structure, legal assistance from Crown officers, review of domestic violence incidents, the protocol, Guernsey Border Agency complaints procedures, and vetting are all areas HMICFRS consider to be completed.
One major area of concern in the previous report was around the ICT provision for Law Enforcement. The follow-up report notes "significant progress has been made" in improving the provision, although work remains ongoing.
Committee for Home Affairs President Deputy Mary Lowe said:
"I am pleased to see the report acknowledges improvements made in many areas. This was a vast amount of work undertaken across 2019, culminating in the return visit by HMICFRS. Although this report notes there are still areas where work is needed, I consider the work of last year to be a good basis of the momentum we have gained. As we have just seen from 2019's annual report, BLE successfully dealt with a wide variety of work last year to keep the Bailiwick safe and secure. The work carried out in this report is against that backdrop and I want to pay tribute to the Head of Law Enforcement and all his officers for the incredible efforts and hard work put into the HMIC recommendations."
Head of Law Enforcement Ruari Hardy said:
"As an organisation we seek continuous professional development. This re-inspection demonstrates our seriousness toward ensuring BLE is the very best it can possibly be. My staff and officers dedicated a huge amount of time and effort toward this report and the positive improvements contained within is down to them. We have reviewed the comments made by HMIC and will keep working with the same determination against the areas where focus is needed. We must ensure that we maintain a culture of reflection and improvement."
Improvements have been made in BLE's public consulting, in its communications, its effectiveness of problem-solving plans, providing increased crime prevention advice on its website, its strategic approach toward anti-social behaviour and the process of agreeing its annual budget have all been addressed.
Seeking to expand in the area of Neighbourhood Policing is a new area for improvement highlighted by the re-inspection.
Mr Hardy said:
"HMICFRS were very clear as to the value of a well-established and effective Neighbourhood Policing Team and I completely agree, especially in a community like Guernsey. While it has been an ambition for the organisation to direct more resources towards this area, we also have to acknowledge that we have finite resources and many other areas are equally important including safeguarding work, front line response and high-tech crime. I will of course seek to plan for more resources to be put into the Neighbourhood Policing Team as soon as it is feasible to do so."
A single additional recommendation has been added by HMICFRS, stating that officers should receive an enhanced level of training in the area of investigation. This is intended to raise standards of investigation for all officers who have not benefitted from specialist detective training. This recommendation is also welcomed by the Head of Law Enforcement. While 2020 has been a challenging year for delivering training and professional development, BLE will seek to put a plan in place to address this recommendation.