Statement by former Police Chief, Graham Power, QPM
Published below is the third and final section of former Police Chief, Graham Power’s interim statement to the Wiltshire Police.
The first & second sections can be read at the following postings:
Now that this document is in the public domain, in the coming days and weeks we will be considering the key facts – what the document means – and its implications. The document is long – and its deeply serious sub-text may not be immediately apparent to those not familiar with the collapse in the rule of law in Jersey. Those issues will be explored in a series of shorter postings.
There is, however, a key factor – in many ways, the central issue – that can be usefully understood now. That factor is this:
Ordinary powerless people in Jersey are engaged in a battle to secure the proper rule of law, functioning democracy and the proper administration of justice. And that battle is not against the Jersey oligarchy – the entrenched collection of “company-town” gangsters, halfwits, child-abusers, grifters, spivs and charlatans who control all power in the island. Rather, that battle is against the British government; the Crown. And in the coming years, it is going to be fought through the British courts.
Here are some quotes from relevant, published reports, and from the policy of the United Kingdom authorities:
“The United Kingdom Government has a responsibility to ensure that the Crown Dependencies have the advice and assistance necessary to function as socially and economically sound democracies.”
“The UK government is responsible for the Crown Dependences’ international relations and ultimate good governance and has the commensurate power to ensure these obligations are met.”
“The power of the UK Government to intervene in insular affairs on the ground of good government is accepted by both the UK and the Crown Dependency governments: namely, that it should be used only in the event of a fundamental breakdown in public order or of the rule of law, endemic corruption in the government or the judiciary”.
“As a matter of general principle, we note that, in a very small jurisdiction, there must always be the possibility that individuals wielding very significant economic, legal and political power may skew the operation of democratic government there. Just as the establishment of democratic government in Sark was a matter of good government, any threat to the ability of that system to operate fairly and robustly has the potential to raise good government issues which might require UK Government intervention.”
Those policy statements – which are, essentially a re-statement of long-existing policy – give rise to a “reasonable expectation” that the policy will be followed, and its objectives and purposes effectively implemented.
There is now so much documented evidence in the hands of ordinary people in Jersey – victims of crimes, whistleblowers, campaigners, independent journalists – that it scarcely requires argument to see the plain breakdown in the very rule of law. However, for simplicity’s sake, we need only consider this one document – this interim statement to the Wiltshire Police, by Jersey’s former Chief Police Officer, Graham Power, Queens Police Medal.
What is shown here is a collapse in the rule of law in the British Crown Dependency of Jersey.
What we see is a nationally respected, dedicated, highly professional and ethical Chief Police Officer, recounting the detailed, evidenced facts in response to the hick-town illegal oppressions carried out against him by a bent and twisted establishment.
And in light of this evidence, it’s clear that we also see something else – something bigger: the denial to most Jersey people of the right to the protections of objective and fearless policing. We see the very enforcement of the law, sabotaged and perverted so as to protect a narrow establishment of Law Officers, politicians and over-paid civil-servants from proper investigation for their crimes and misfeasances. The very operation of objective policing, sabotaged to suit the interests of a handful of oligarchs – and the Police Chief denied any effective protection or due-process. As a direct consequence there are many hundreds of powerless victims of crimes in Jersey who have been denied the protections of the proper rule of law.
That was, at base, the motivation for the illegal oppressions conducted against Police Chief Graham Power, QPM: to ensure that powerless, ordinary “unimportant” people in Jersey were denied the protection of the rule of law – and that, conversely, the minority ruling oligarchs and their vassals continued to be “protected” from ever facing the consequences of their actions.
The Crown and the UK government are responsible for this – and they will be accountable.
Many of those who have been involved in the struggle for justice, free democracy, good governance and the objective enforcement of the proper rule of law during the last five years may, understandably, think it has been a long path; one which has seemed unvarying and endless.
When considering how things have been, how things are now – and how the campaign is about to change, I thought of the words of Sir Winston Churchill:
“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
Graham Power, like me, has stirred hatred and fear on the part of Jersey’s entrenched ruling elite. Personally, when I cast a cold eye over the accretion of halfwits, spivs and grifters we have ranged against us, I enjoy some quiet satisfaction at my judgment and instincts. I scarcely knew Graham Power back in that latter half of 2007 – when so many of my constituents – survivors, whistleblowers and others – were telling me of the most terrible things. Back then, I had every reason to be suspicious of the police who had, clearly, in years gone by, been a part of the problem. But speaking with men like Mr. Power and Lenny Harper, my instinct was that these were good, honest, professional men, who could be trusted. I was right.
My decisions, of course, made me even more enemies than I had already. But as Churchill said:
“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
Part Three of the Interim Statement to Wiltshire Police by Graham Power, Former Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police Force:
127. Shortly after I was appointed as Chief Officer I remember being told about a case of abuse which had resulted in the conviction of a member of staff from Victoria College. This establishment is a boys’ school which is regarded by some as the “Eton College” of Jersey. It is where many of the future leaders of the Jersey establishment are educated. The offences involved a male teacher who was sexually abusing students. Some of the abuse was said to have taken place on a boat at sea. The sexual abuse of boys in boats at sea was to be a common feature in many of the allegations preceding and surrounding “Rectangle.” The teacher was convicted, and so far as I know, sentenced to imprisonment. I later learned that some police officers involved in the investigation claimed that they had been denied resources and support during their enquiries. There were stories that evidence and notes had gone missing, and that senior officers may have been obstructive towards the enquiry. It was also said, and I think I have seen a report to that effect, that the College authorities had not been cooperative, and some police officers had been shocked at the attitudes to abuse which they had encountered. It was alleged that the abuse of boys had been described by one person as a “perk of the job” or some phrase of that nature. I believe that the South Yorkshire Police enquiry, commissioned by Lenny Harper, touched upon some of these issues, and some of the officers involved in the original investigation have provided statements to that enquiry.
128. There were also rumours regarding a couple known as the Maguires. Some years before my appointment they had been charged with the physical abuse of children in a States run home but charges had been dropped. The case re-surfaced during Rectangle. On one occasion I received information which caused me to speak to the Attorney General. I told him my information (which had been provided to me in consequence of an overheard conversation in a departure lounge at Gatwick) was that a camera crew and journalist were on their way to Jersey to do some background work on the Maguires. They then intended to travel to France and “doorstep” Mr and Mrs Maguire. The Attorney General told me that they would find Mr Maguire difficult to doorstep as he had been dead for years. He had been seriously ill with cancer when the charges were dropped, and had died not long after. It is fair to say that the Attorney General was not the only person to hold this belief. It was accepted “common knowledge” that Mr Maguire was dead. The appearance not long afterwards of a rather fit and angry looking Mr Maguire on television, came as an interesting surprise. I was later told the Maguires had been working as caretakers in France. Their “caretaking” apparently involved looking after the second homes of some Jersey residents.
129. I recall a case which occurred a few years after I was appointed. It involved a senior civil servant who was suspected of accessing child pornography on the internet. The civil servant was a person who was seen as a rising star in the public sector, and a potential Chief Officer. He was also a senior member of the local sea cadets. This caused some “need to know” issues due to the fact that Chief Inspector André Bonjour was also a senior member of that organisation. A warrant was executed, but it was found that the suspect’s computer had been wiped the previous evening. Nevertheless, after some detailed computer forensic work he was convicted. There were other enquiries relating to alleged abuse within the sea cadets, but I do not have the details. I was however told that there was one other case in which a computer had been wiped, shortly before an arrest. I cannot remember more about that case.
130. In the period following my appointment I periodically had occasion to be concerned regarding standards and performance in what was then called the “Family Protection Unit” or something of that nature. It was the unit which dealt with child protection issues, and is now known as the Public Protection Unit or P.P.U. Around 2006 these concerns increased, following a number of reports and incidents. I can only remember one in any detail. I recall that a parent wrote to me complaining that her child had been abused, and that the unit were taking too long to deal with the case. I ought to add that, at the initial phase, I deal personally with all correspondence addressed to me. This is possible in a small force. There were also allegations that phone calls to the unit from the writer of the letter, had not been returned. Rather than go through the chain of command, I rang the unit direct. I asked for an update on the case and was told that this was not available as the Detective Sergeant was on leave and only he would know about it. This alerted me to the fact that there did not seem to be any case tracking system in the unit. A later report on the management of the case revealed issues which were dealt with either by Mr Harper or line management.
131. I was clear that this was an area in which we were vulnerable and I therefore initiated a series of events which led to the re-structuring of the relevant areas of the C.I.D., and a decision to place Alison Fossey in charge of Public Protection and some other units, on her promotion to Detective Inspector. I see from his statement that David Minty expresses some dissatisfaction with these changes and appears to feel that his position as head of C.I.D. was not respected. I can understand why he may feel that way, but it is my view that he had a solution imposed upon him because he had failed to deliver a solution himself. I would also add it is my recollection that the whole re-structuring proposal went through the normal policy process and was later approved by the Minister for Home Affairs, who at that time was Wendy Kinnard, in consequence of a written paper which I submitted to her. I also recall that the position was advertised and that only Alison Fossey, who had a background in that type of work, applied for the post.
132. D.I. Fossey was asked to self-inspect the department using a template obtained from H.M.I.C. The results were very negative. There was no effective workload management, and an absence of formal information sharing agreements with partner agencies. I supported her in making the necessary changes and assisted with drafting and then signing-off the relevant partnership agreements.
133. The lesson I took from this was that the Force had been part of the problem. The widespread belief that there was “no point” in reporting child abuse in Jersey applied not just to cynicism regarding the criminal justice system, but also to the police. There were legends and rumours that cases had been “buried” by the police, prosecutors, and the Courts. I also realised that once D.I Fossey had put her changes in place and gained trust and credibility, then the number of reported offences might increase. They did.
134. As soon as it became clear that the police would take abuse issues seriously and deal with them in a professional manner, the number of reports increased. The latest figures that I have seen, which were published in late 2008, indicate that following “Rectangle” this increase was recorded as being 152%. I have not had access to figures on the number of reports prior to Rectangle, but I imagine that the difference since then will be significant. I will return to Alison Fossey’s early tenure in the department and what it revealed later in this section.
135. I now turn to a case which had a fundamental effect on relations between the Force, government representatives, and the leadership of the public sector. This was a case in which two local men had abused a boy who was also a sea cadet. As far as I am aware the men did not have a direct connection with the sea cadets as an organisation, but they owned or had access to a boat. I do not recall that I had any knowledge of the case during the time that it was current. I think I first became aware when a Serious Case Review (S.C.R.) report was circulated. I did not think the S.C.R. document was a very good report. It raised more questions than answers and skimmed over the really difficult issues. I was not surprised when Senator Stuart Syvret, who at that time was the Health Minister, criticised the report and raised a number of questions. Some of these were directed at the police and were of a critical nature. I was not troubled by this. I thought that the way to deal with his questions was to provide honest answers. I recall that I asked for information and a response was sent to the Senator. I soon learned that those in charge of the island’s government did not intend to take the same approach.
136. What happened thereafter is touched upon in more detail in my first affidavit. In brief, a plan was formed, apparently in the Chief Minister’s Department, to respond to Senator Syvret’s questions by removing him from his position as Health Minister. This began in what was effectively a “pincer movement”, which commenced on Wednesday 25th July 2007. Two groups met at the same time in different government buildings. One was a sub-group of the Corporate Management Board, at which I was present, and the other was a meeting of the Child Protection Committee, at which Alison Fossey was present. Neither of us was aware of what was intended.
137. It was put to both groups that it would be appropriate for us to express “no confidence” in Senator Syvret as Minister. This would enable the Chief Minister to ask the Council of Ministers to take a similar line before referring the matter to the States as a whole. I objected to what was being proposed and refused to become involved. I was asked by the Chief Executive to leave the meeting. On doing so I discovered that Alison Fossey had left her meeting on similar grounds. We both made notes soon afterwards. (Notebook 07/120 pages 51-58) To complete this account, the Child Protection Committee did in fact pass a vote of “no confidence” in
Senator Syvret as Minister for Health and Social Services. I am not aware of any similar
resolution passed on behalf of the Corporate Management Board. However, following a
subsequent “no confidence” vote by the Council of Ministers, the matter was put to the States as a whole and Senator Syvret was removed from office. I recall that he was succeeded by Senator Ben Shenton.
138. This was one of a series of events which contributed to tension between the force and the political leadership of the island. We did not agree on how the build-up of allegations and concerns regarding abuse issues was to be managed. I was, and still am, very clear that the only way to bring the growing crisis to an end was to investigate what was being alleged, and to take enquiries to a point where there was nothing more to be done. My impression of those in government was that they just wanted the whole issue to go away. I have thought in some detail about this divide and what lies beneath it. I think it is cultural. The police service has, in recent years, placed heavy emphasis on operating in a way which is ethical and defensible. I mentioned earlier in this statement that I had some marginal involvement in these developments. On the other hand I do not think that ethics plays a big part in Jersey political thinking. Apart from discussions with Senator Wendy Kinnard, I cannot remember ever having a discussion at senior government or public service level which had an ethical dimension. I cannot remember anyone ever arguing for or against a particular policy because it was right or wrong. Discussion always seems to be about delivering to an agenda on budget and “protecting the reputation of the island” (usually meaning the reputations of those engaged in the discussion.) Jersey political life sometimes appears to be obsessed with reputation, it was against this background that “Rectangle” began to take hold.
139. I cannot remember the exact day “Rectangle” started. If the date is in the large folders of documents provided to me then I apologise for not finding it. In the context of some of the investigations conducted by the force it was not a major event. Alison Fossey felt that there were a number of linked reports relating to the Sea Cadets and to Haut de la Garenne. She was given authority to explore further. At some point the operational name “Rectangle” was allocated. I suspect that the operational name will initially have been for budget purposes. The enquiry had a potentially significant impact if details became public, but so did a lot of other enquiries running at the time. I have written earlier about the high level financial crime investigations in which the force has a role. Some are highly sensitive, and have potential major implications for international finance and politics. In some cases meetings are held with the major intelligence agencies in the U.K. and with law enforcement and similar agencies from around the world. We manage all of these enquiries in the same way. Somebody has lead responsibility and a line manager exercises oversight. If there are developments which I need to know about, or which need to be discussed, this is usually done in a closed session after the daily 9.00 a.m. meeting. We do not have “Gold Groups” or “Strategic Oversight Boards” or anything of that nature. We are a small force. We all know each other and speak to each other every day. If we have problems we sort them out by personal contact. I have described the force meeting cycle earlier in this statement. It is sufficient for the needs of the force. We do not need complex paraphernalia designed for forces twenty times our size.
140. At some stage Alison Fossey brought to my notice reports and statements relating to the abuse case which had led to the Serious Case Review and the eventual dismissal of Senator Syvret as Minister for Health. She drew attention to evidence which indicated that when under investigation, the offenders had been in text contact with a former senior detective, and that the Contact seemed to be intended to obtain information regarding police enquiries. The former detective had never been interviewed about this matter. The case was by then about a year old or even older. A decision was taken to ask the former detective to attend the police station for interview. He attended, but would not answer questions. Not long afterwards it was learned by legitimate means that shortly after the interview he made a long telephone call to a former senior officer. Both persons are known members of the yachting fraternity. I understand that the failure to interview the former detective when the opportunity first arose was one of the issues covered in the South Yorkshire enquiry.
141. This and other emerging evidence brought a new dimension to the enquiry. Alleged offenders were being named by victims and witnesses, and some were former police officers. Others were persons in senior positions in the public sector. This was discussed with Mr Harper and it was agreed that he should maintain oversight of the enquiry, and that the need to know” principles which had applied in previous professional standards enquiries, should be applied to Rectangle. This of course had the negative side effect of isolating some of the force management team from the enquiry. It was felt at the time that this was unavoidable. Until there was a clearer picture of who may be accused or compromised by the growing number of allegations, the enquiry would have to be closely managed between Lenny Harper and Alison Fossey.
142. “Rectangle” continued to be a confidential enquiry, and its impact on the wider community was therefore negligible. I had at various stages provided confidential briefings to the Minister for Home Affairs Wendy Kinnard, the Chief Minister Frank Walker, and the Chief Executive Bill Ogley. The content of these briefings outlined that the Force was exploring some historical reports to see if there were matters which needed further investigation. As time passed the briefings became more detailed. Some of these briefings took the form of prepared statements previously agreed with Mr Harper. Examples are to be found in notebook 07/358 pages 20 and 24. It may be of note that the second of the two briefings which occurred on 15th November 2007 was intended to be received by the Chief Minister Frank Walker. However, in spite of the briefing having being arranged in advance he did not attend. (Notebook 07/358 page 24.) When I asked where he was I was told by the Chief Executive that Senator Walker was attending a lunch reception in another part of the building, which he did not wish to leave. This confirmed a view which I was forming, that the Jersey Government was showing a lack of recognition of the inevitable public and media interest which would occur when the enquiry became more widely known. I had from time to time encouraged an appreciation of the fact that handling the issue would prove to be a challenging task, and that the island’s government needed to plan and prepare. I appeared unable to convince the Chief Minister of this, and I saw no significant evidence that the Chief Executive had a plan, or even that he had given significant thought to how a more public phase of the enquiry would be managed. This lack of recognition and preparation had significant consequences in 2008 when the level of media interest exceeded all expectations, and the islands government became exposed to criticism and challenge.
143. Nevertheless I think it important to emphasise that Rectangle was a fairly long-running operation before it became highly visible. I had maintained contact with it throughout 2007, by means of regular briefings and conversations with key staff and partners. Alison Fossey was S.I.O. She was trained, competent, and well in control of the investigation. Lenny Harper was providing strategic oversight of both Rectangle and the professional standards issues which were being investigated alongside Rectangle. Even at the beginning of 2008, although there was evidence of enhanced media interest, this was largely local and manageable. Nobody foresaw, or had any reason to foresee, that a local enquiry based in a small island most people have barely heard of, would suddenly become world news. Nobody was really prepared for that. When it happened the impact was substantial. Every agency was caught off-balance and reactions had to be improvised. Deep rooted political and social divisions were brought into focus as the international media spotlight turned on the island. Later in this statement I will argue that much of the media interest was driven by issues outside the remit of the police, and how government and others, sometimes with good intentions, added significantly to the challenges the Force and the island was facing. This was not just a police problem. It was a Jersey problem.
144. On the morning of Tuesday 19th February 2008 I attended St Martins Parish Hall where I met with the Connétable, Silva Yates. I had arranged the meeting some days before on the basis that I wanted to discuss a “Parish Issue.” I told him the Force was about to start some exploratory work at Haut de la Garenne, and this was part of a search for evidence in relation to the abuse enquiry. I said that we would hope to keep the work discreet, but we might be there for a couple of weeks. There might be some media interest or some questions to him as Connétable. I took this conversation to be a discharge of my responsibilities under Article 7 of the 1974 Police Law. The Connétable thanked me for the information, and said he did not intend to become closely involved. I took these comments as a request for “assistance” under article 6 of the Police Law. (Notebook 07/358 page 78 refers.) He said that we should ask if we needed any help, and in fact he was of considerable assistance in the weeks which followed, supporting the use of Honorary Police on the cordon and related duties.
145. As is now well known the U.K. media became aware of the work at Haute de le Garenne, and the whole enquiry became the subject of intense media and political interest. The political interest was both external and internal. Long-standing political rivalries were re-ignited and challenging questions were raised regarding the constitutional position of the island and the ability of its institutions to deal with issues of this nature. I will address some of these consequences later in this statement.
146. “The Standards the SOJP Work to, with Particular Reference to ACPO/NPIA Guidance.”
I have been asked to make comment regarding the above. Most of what I have to say is not really a matter of my own or anyone else’s opinion. It is a matter of law. Jersey is an independent legal jurisdiction. It has its own laws, its own courts and its own police services. It is bound by nobody else’s laws or procedures. There are thirteen police forces in the island. Twelve are elected volunteer forces which largely operate within their Parish. The thirteenth Force is the States Police, which now has jurisdiction throughout the island to patrol and to gather evidence in relation to alleged offences. The States Police do not charge or prosecute offenders. Any suspected offences have to be reported to the honorary police in the relevant parish. A Centenier will then decide what action, if any, is to be taken with regard to a suspected offence. In taking decisions Centeniers refer to guidelines issued by the Attorney General. Should it be felt that a Centenier has taken an apparently perverse decision the Law Officers are able to intervene. Nevertheless, the discretion of the Honorary Police is considerable. The States Police have no powers to charge or prosecute any offender for any offence. That is the law. Some might think it a strange business. It is however Jersey’s business. It is nobody else’s business.
147. All thirteen police forces are obliged to operate in accordance with the laws of the island and any statutory guidelines or procedures approved by the competent Jersey authorities. That is how it is. No other laws and procedures apply or have any jurisdiction in the island.
148. On some occasions a situation arises where there are no relevant local laws or procedures. When that occurs it is considered acceptable to look and see what might be done in a similar situation elsewhere. Sometimes Jersey looks to England for guidance. Sometimes it looks to other countries in the U.K. I am aware for example that the local fire service is inspected and takes its lead in relation to working practices and standards, from the Scottish Fire Service Inspectorate. When Jersey was seeking to develop a “joined up” criminal justice database, work was done on the basis of a model which was viewed in Northern Ireland. The development in Jersey of the scrutiny panel system benefited from considerable input from representatives of the Scottish Parliament. The current emergency planning officer was recruited from a position in the Welsh Assembly, where he had been developing procedures in that jurisdiction. As a community we are free to choose where we obtain our advice from, and how we react to that advice. It is for Jersey to decide. Nobody else can impose any laws or working practices without the agreement of the island’s governing authorities.
149. Sometimes guidelines and working practices developed in other jurisdictions can form the basis of local procedures. The best way to illustrate this might be to refer to a real issue which is relevant to this enquiry. That is, the concept of a “critical incident.” I took an interest in this about three to four years ago. One afternoon I was in my office when I made a routine computer check on live incidents. I read one entry which said that there had been an incident involving a police vehicle and two people were dead. I went to the control room and established that a police car on its way to an incident had been involved in a collision with another vehicle. It later transpired that only one person was dead and the other badly injured. I realised that this would have significant implications. I established a separate command and control for the incident and allocated different people to lead on the different areas or responsibility. These included contact with the Law Officers, the Minister, the Media and the Jersey Police Complaints Authority, as well as the customary actions regarding scene management and related issues. As the dust settled I began to wonder what would have happened if I had not been there. Would the staff on duty have known what to do, and did we have operating procedures which would cope with such a situation?
150. I remembered that in my contacts with colleagues in England they had spoken of something called a “critical incident” and that when something was given this name, a particular process was activated. I discussed this with colleagues and, so far as I recall, brought the matter to a meeting of the Executive Strategy Group (E.S.G.). I thought that we should gather more information about a “critical incident” and whether it involved a process which could usefully be adopted locally. Someone was allocated to undertake the necessary research. There should be a record in the minutes of the Executive Strategy Group relating to this. This type of project would have followed a familiar process. When we identify a deficiency in local policy and procedure somebody is allocated to prepare a paper. This would involve research into how things are done elsewhere. It is possible that A.C.P.O. procedures might be examined. The person responsible might take A.C.P.O. guidelines and amend these to take account of local law and procedure. It might also be necessary to translate any A.C.P.O. guidance into a more reader-friendly language.
151. What spoils the story to some extent in this case is that I do not recall if the work was ever finished. It might be that the person given the task left, or moved on to other things. I just do not remember. However, had the paper been completed this is how it would have moved forward from that point. It would have been circulated to members of the Executive Strategy Group (E.S.G.) for preliminary comment and suggested amendment. When we thought that it was ready to come to the table we would list it as an agenda item. It would then be subject of a formal discussion. Once a draft was agreed, it would go to the Force Management Board (F.M.B.) for a wider discussion. When a draft had been approved through this process I would have to decide whether there was a need for political ownership. In the case of the force adopting English guidelines for use locally this would probably be the case. I would therefore have tabled it for a Ministerial meeting with the Minister for Home Affairs and the Assistant Minister. In my experience Ministers are most likely to be interested in any potential for political challenge, (in this case I would have thought that there was probably none,) and also any financial or training implications. If financial implications were present then this would be an impediment, and they would be enough on their own to prevent a policy being accepted. Training implications could probably be approved provided that they could be met within budget.
152. As I have stated earlier, the proposal to adopt the concept of a “critical incident” did not make it through this process, and therefore did not become part of Jersey’s police procedures. The same can be said of any other police procedure from another jurisdiction which has not been through the process I have described.
153. The status of guidelines which have not been adopted locally is that they constitute advice, which is there for the information of the Force, and for the officer dealing with a particular case. They can be used or not used as the Force or the officer in the case sees fit. That is not an opinion. It is just a statement of the Law. If Ministers are not content with this position then they could seek to change it through the political process. A proposal to adopt English policing guidelines en-bloc could be progressed either through a recorded Ministerial decision, or by means of a debate in the States. So far Ministers have chosen not to do this. That is a matter for them. It is not a matter for me. I do not think that I am able to assist further with this subject.
154. The involvement of the A.C.P.O. Homicide Working Group.
I have been asked to comment on the involvement of the A.C.P.O. Homicide Working Group, the contents of their reports, and the implementation of their recommendations. Their role was vital to the conduct of the enquiry. I will argue elsewhere that when a fairly discreet and local enquiry turned overnight into a world event it was too late to re-think command structures and roles. We had to remain focussed and work within the management resources we had. But we needed expert help and guidance. I personally had lost touch with where “experts” were to be obtained from in 2008. Fortunately Lenny Harper had done some groundwork, and through this I learned about the “Homicide Working Group,” who apparently could be activated in our support through John Stoddart, who was Chief Constable of Durham, and who led for A.C.P.O. in the appropriate business area. The relevant contacts were made and the Homicide Working Group (H.W.G.) was asked to assist. I do not think that I had heard of the H.W.G prior to them being recommended as a source of expertise for Rectangle.
155. The H.W.G were led by André Baker, who is a Deputy Director of the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA.) I had met with Mr Baker a number of times previously in his SOCA capacity. Details of Mr Baker and his career history can be found on the internet. I believe he can be fairly described as an internationally recognised expert on the investigation of serious crime. The H.W.G. were part of a plan to provide expert guidance, and oversee the investigation through to the time when a new management team could be in place. We had, for reasons previously described, failed to retain the services of John Pearson, who was a senior and experienced detective, on the management team. We were however already actively engaged in the recruitment of a new D.C.O. with the relevant background. There were two leading candidates. One was André Baker who was effectively already on the ground, and the other was David Warcup who had already visited the force and who was in regular telephone contact. We just needed to bridge the gap. I hoped to close the gap by bringing forward the appointment of the new D.C.O. and by using the H.W.G. to guide the investigation in the meantime, I was also mindful that DI Fossey would soon be returning to the Force, and that when some of the outstanding professional standards issues had been resolved, it might be possible to achieve closer involvement with members of the Force management team. In this respect I thought that David Minty, who was head of C.I.D., might be able to play a greater role. I also believed, as did everyone else, that the work at Haut de Le Garenne was a brief episode which would soon be over. With hindsight it is now known that is not what occurred. One find led to another, and as the exploration of one scene within the complex was finished, there were forensic indications which led to another.
156. I have seen statements in the disclosure file which speak of the limitations of the mandate of the H.W.G. These are interesting but well informed by hindsight. What I was told at the time regarding the role of the Homicide Working Group is what is set out in their terms of reference and reports. I note that the terms of reference state that they will “quality assure the investigation.” I relied heavily on the H.W.G. to guide me and others as to what we should be doing and how. The analogy is not perfect, but during this period André Baker assumed something of the status of the A.C.C. (Crime) which we needed but did not have. I relied heavily on the H.W.G. for expert advice. And I was resolved to take their advice. If for example, they had advised that there was a serious deficiency which could only be solved by a change in key personnel then I would have tried to do that. I was not given such advice and therefore I did not do it. I note that in his statement John Stoddart speaks of the supervisory role of a Chef Officer in such circumstances and says I “am however acutely aware that Mr Power was the only other chief officer and that this may have presented him with some real difficulties.” – He then goes on to consider how these difficulties might have been addressed and suggests “extra resilience at ACPO level.” For reasons given earlier, such a solution was impossible under the rules under which the Force is required to operate. Accordingly I did the next best thing and relied on the senior expert who was available. In managing the situation which existed at the time, I acted on my own authority, but in doing so was heavily guided by André Baker and his team. André Baker was an experienced and seasoned ACPO officer who was either present on the ground, or in regular contact throughout the key events. I valued his support.
157. The reports of the H.W.G. speak for themselves. They describe an investigation which needs some “tweaking” but is generally on course. Some of the language is complimentary. For example there are references to the “correct approach” and “good practice.” In the groups second report at paragraph 7 they state “The States of Jersey Police are to be commended for their positive reception of the (previous) report and for their extremely prompt response in implementing the recommendations.” I met with members of the group on a regular basis and toured locations in their presence. When it was not possible to meet, I would speak to André Baker by telephone. This included a period when I was on leave and dealing with family matters in the U.K. I made arrangements for the H.W.G. to meet with Ministers, when neither myself nor any other member of the Force were present, so that the H.W.G. could give a candid view of our performance in the investigation. Following these meetings I would have conversations with Ministers and it was clear that no concerns had been raised. I studied all of the H.W.G. reports in detail and asked for, and received from the Rectangle team, action plans addressing the recommendations. I do not know what else I could have done to maximise the value of the H.W.G. I was guided by their views and gave priority to their advice and recommendations. Whatever might be said now, there is nothing in any of their reports which raises major concerns. No crisis is identified. No drastic action is called for. There are the anticipated recommendations in respect of procedural and policy issues, and reassuring messages regarding the action taken in response to what they have recommended previously.
158. I note that the feedback given to the Minister for Home Affairs was even more positive. In a statement dated 7’’ May 2009 Andrew Lewis speaks of his briefings by the H.W.G. and states in paragraph 8, “When I received their report with the recommendations, I was told by Andy Baker that the investigation was a ‘shining example’ of how an investigation of this type should be run and that they were satisfied that the S.I.O.. was doing a good job.”
159. There are some issues later in this statement where it will be necessary to refer back to the H.W.G. reports. However, I can at this time think of nothing more to be said regarding the “Involvement of the A. C. P.O. Homicide Working Group.”
160. Comments in Relation to the Metropolitan Police Serious Crime Review.
I have been asked for “Your comments in relation to the reports by the Metropolitan Police Serious Crime Review.” I take this request to refer to the review of Rectangle which I requested on the advice of André Baker. I will address that aspect in more detail later in this section of the statement. In response to the question I will offer some comments regarding the background and other issues associated with this report. The Minister for Home Affairs has stated that the report itself is “out of play” (transcript of the suspension review meetings.) He indicates that this is because the Metropolitan Police will not agree to its use for disciplinary purposes. I am not surprised. The commissioning of review reports is recognised good practice, and reviewers are often encouraged to be challenging. Their reports are valuable in setting an agenda for the future of an investigation. Their use for a disciplinary purpose would have widespread implications for the future of this process. Senior Officers might be reluctant to commission such reports, and reviewers might be inhibited in what they said. The stance taken by the Metropolitan Police is in the interests of the service, and is also very much in the public interest. I support the position that the Metropolitan Police have taken. I hope that the investigating officer is able to come to the same view. It follows that, in support of the position taken by the Metropolitan Police, I will not be commenting on the contents of the review report.
161. During the major stages of Rectangle I was aware that it was customary for comparable enquiries to be subject to a review, although I was less sure what was normal in respect of frequency and timing. For this reason I took advice from the H.W.G. The advice which I was given appears to be well covered in the statement of André Baker paragraph 71. I recall much of the discussions around this issue, and my recollections broadly accord with what the statement says. We talked about the need for a review and its timing. We both thought that a review report would be useful in setting the agenda for the new management structure I was in the process of implementing. I asked André Baker to make the necessary arrangements, and he said that he would. The issue was discussed between André Baker, myself and David Warcup when we met at the Radisson Hotel on 21st July 2008. We were there for the purpose of interviewing the shortlisted candidates for the position of S.I.O. Apart from the selection process itself, it was an opportunity for the three of us to get together and have a full discussion regarding the enquiry. André Baker is right when he says that “We had a general discussion on the selection process, strategy for the enquiry and timescales.” I felt it important that the future of the enquiry was fully owned by the senior people involved. I recall that the matter of a review was discussed with candidates during the selection process, and certainly with the successful candidate who was Mick Gradwell. We all appeared to agree on the position. Taken overall I believe that I am entitled to state that the decisions in relation to the nature and timing of the Metropolitan Police review were supported by all of the relevant senior officers, and that in agreeing how this issue was to be addressed, I was acting on sound expert advice.
162. I will now touch briefly on some aspects of the statements of the reviewing officers. For reasons already given I will not address the content in detail. I note from their statements that the reviewing officers are Mr Bryan Sweeting and Mr Terrence Britton. One of them is a Superintendent and the other is a retired police officer. Neither has any experience in the management of a police force at a strategic level. I see from their statements that we met briefly on 29th October 2008. My impression at the time was that they were competent practitioners in an urban environment, but perhaps not familiar with the unique issues of island policing. To some extent this is corroborated by their statements. Mr Britton appears to believe that Jersey has a “Police Authority” (paragraph 7) and sees relevance in the advice of the “Crown Prosecution Service” (paragraph 20.) In his statement of 30th April 2009 Mr Sweeting indicates that he has apparently looked for any evidence that I “delegated” my supervisory responsibility for Mr Harper, and can see no evidence that I did. It would be fascinating to know where he searched for this evidence, and to whom he thinks I might have made such a delegation in a force in which the only two Chief Officer ranks were Mr Harper and myself.
163. I do not think that I can make any further useful comment in respect of the review by the Metropolitan Police.
164. Mr Leonard Harper as Senior Investigating Officer.
I have been asked to comment on “The appointment of Mr Harper as S.I.O or the continued acceptance as S.I.O when the opportunity arose to make changes.” I am not sure what is meant by the latter part of this question, or whether it implies that the questioner knows something which I do not. I have described earlier in this statement the long and exhausting battle that had to be endured in order to obtain authority to advertise and recruit a new D.C.O. from outside of the island, and how that left the Minister for Home Affairs in a position in which she could not realistically make a further approach for permission to fill another senior post externally. I have also described how, when the enquiry became major news, we were already part way through the process of replacing Mr Harper as D.C.O. and how leading candidates for that position were already engaged with the force and updating themselves on the enquiry. I have also written about how there was a clear plan to “bridge the gap” by using the H.W.G. to advise Mr Harper, while simultaneously attempts were being made to bring forward the appointment of his replacement. I have also acknowledged that I did not foresee, and neither did anyone else, the complexity and duration of the search at Haut de a Garenne.
165. I think that I have also explained the background of political and cultural resistance to the importation of senior public sector staff from outside the island and how this is reflected in a range of legal processes relating to employment and housing. The difficulties caused by the housing and employment laws are not a side-effect of those laws. They are the main point of the laws. For constitutional reasons Jersey is not able to operate immigration controls. Immigration is controlled indirectly by restricting the right to work and the entitlement to occupy most categories of housing. Every case for the importation of key staff has to be evidentially justified. Sometimes this involves going through the futile exercise of advertising locally and engaging in a selection process merely to demonstrate that there is no local candidate available. I recall that this happened when we recruited the current forensic manager, Vicky Coupland. I believe that her recruitment took over a year.
166. Sometimes this process can be by-passed by the use of a temporary secondment. A person who is seconded remains a member of their own force. They are not allowed to live in qualified accommodation and their secondment is expected to be restricted to a period which is no longer than necessary. The authority to authorise a secondment to the Force rests with the Minister for Home Affairs. The process used in order to enable secondments for Rectangle, was for the Minister to write to the Lord Chancellor asking for U.K. assistance. When agreement had been given, individual forces and officers could be approached. At the time Mr Gradwell’s secondment was authorised in July 2008 the political ground was more fertile than it had been in the early part of the year. There was a new Minister for Home Affairs (Andrew Lewis) who I had persuaded that the management model which I had developed involving a new D.C.O. and S.I.O. was an essential package. This was not the case in 2007/2008. Wendy Kinnard was exhausted by her efforts to gain sanction for my plan to recruit a new D.C.O. She was also a supporter of Lenny Harper and his approach. They were close in the professional and political sense. So much so that there were occasional rumours that their relationship was more than professional. Jersey is fertile ground for rumours. I was aware of the rumours and considered them to be without foundation. Most Jersey rumours are totally false. I know because I have been the subject of a few from time to time myself. They are not true either.
167. Finally on this particular aspect of the question, I note that André Baker states that the decision to recruit an S.I.O. from outside of the island was confirmed at a meeting on 30th June 2008 (paragraph 71.) Although I do not have access to the relevant records, this would have been followed by an approach to Andrew Lewis as Home Affairs Minister for his agreement. Mr Gradwell states that he commenced duty as S.I.O. on 8th September 2008 (statement paragraph 31.) He then had to begin familiarising himself with his new role, and read through the statements taken up to that date. Thus, the time period from deciding to appoint an S.I.O. from outside the island to the selected person starting work was over two months. At that point the new S.I.O. would begin a process of familiarisation with the existing evidence in order to become effective. In other words, it cannot be done overnight. It is not an instant solution.
168. I now return to the role of Lenny Harper as S.I.O., although much of what there is to be said should be apparent from some of the earlier parts of this statement. I have described how, in the earlier stages, Rectangle was an enquiry running alongside a number of others being carried out by the force. DI. Alison Fossey was the S.I.O. and Lenny Harper was maintaining strategic oversight. It was decided that Lenny Harper would have this role for reasons which included the professional standards elements and, to put it plainly, some uncertainty regarding who in the force could or could not be trusted at that time. I know the position on that question is a lot clearer now, but it was far from clear then. In normal terms, the scale of the enquiry has been assessed by Mr Britton, who participated in the review by the Metropolitan Police, as one which a Detective Inspector ought to be capable of dealing with under supervision. (Witness statement T. Britton, paragraph 6.) I agree that in normal circumstances this would be the case. What made this enquiry different were the potential political implications, and the professional standards issues. There was also the probability that media interest would intensify (although nobody foresaw the extent to which this would happen,) and that there would be the customary political attempts to interfere or score points. Alison Fossey was a good investigator, but relatively new to her rank. She was not skilled in dealing with political challenges, and not confident in a hostile media environment. She was also undergoing some domestic issues at that time which were placing her under pressure. Some of these matters could have been comfortably addressed in a U.K. force where choices of skilled senior personnel are available. We are an island force outside of the U.K. We operate with what we have. Only in the most exceptional circumstances can we do otherwise.
169. I would need more access to files to discover when Lenny Harper moved from having strategic oversight to being S.I.O. I know that when this happened nothing much changed in reality. He still worked as D.C.O. and carried out any functions in relation to Rectangle on a part-time basis. Alison Fossey was in effect the full time head of the investigation. Initially I saw Lenny Harper’s appointment as adding strength and authority to the investigation, to protect Alison from interference, and allow her to concentrate purely on investigative matters. In so far as any U.K. guidelines were relevant in that situation, Lenny Harper was a “Chief Officer” for the purposes of those guidelines.
170. At some stage, after consultation with others, I took a decision which affected this working relationship for a period of time. This involved an International Female Commanders’ Course which was being run at the Staff College and which D.I. Fossey had qualified to attend. The course is normally for officers of Superintendent rank, but she was assessed as having the relevant level of ability, (as it happened she proved to be the outstanding student on the course.) I recall this was to take place in early 2008 and would involve her being away for around ten weeks. Throughout my service I have seen promising officers effectively punished for being of high value in a particular position, and therefore hard to release when career opportunities arise. I am conscious of the long term damage this can cause, and try to avoid it wherever possible. I discussed the situation with Alison Fossey and Lenny Harper and we agreed that she should be released, and cover would be provided by others “acting up.” This did of course bring Lenny Harper’s role as S.I.O. into greater focus. It was clear that his day-today leadership would be more “real” than it had been up to that point.
171. I note that one of the periods during which the H.W.G. were present in Jersey was from 29 February to 2 March 2008. They subsequently completed a report which drew attention to the fact that Mr Harper was undertaking the duties of S.I.O. on a part-time basis. They recommended that he should become full time, and that another person undertake the duties of D.C.O. I reflected on this and saw the sense in this recommendation. The only realistic candidate to be acting DCO was the third in command of the force, who was Superintendent Shaun Du Val. Shaun was a suitable person to act up, and in my view had potential to move permanently into that rank following appropriate development. This was a decision which would have required Ministerial approval. Without access to the relevant files I do not know how this was done. It might have been in a Ministerial meeting, or it might have been agreed verbally. In any event, it was approved. Shaun was made acting D.C.O. and David Minty Acting Superintendent. This was also a good opportunity for David. He had demonstrated potential as Chief Inspector and I had him in mind as a future Superintendent.
172. It might now be appropriate to digress a little, and discuss who in the force other than Lenny Harper could have been S.I.O., and why this did not happen. The problem overshadowing any internal solution to the issue of who should be S.I.O. was the continuing professional standards issues, and uncertainty as to who may be the next person to be implicated in allegations concerning the “cover up” of abuse. From the distance of time it all appears clear. In the midst of the initial deluge of reports and allegations it was not possible to predict who would be the next person to be “named.” The reports from the H.W.G. describe backlogs of incoming information and actions. At the relevant time, we knew that we did not know the full picture of what was alleged against whom, and in the initial rush of reports and allegations which followed the publicity around Haut de Le Garenne, the picture that we had was changing daily.
173. Running alongside this was the undoubted fact that Lenny Harper had, within the space of a few hours, become established internationally as the public face of the enquiry. His candid and robust style of delivery, accompanied by his unconcealed distancing from the Jersey government and establishment, inspired confidence in victims and witnesses, and in the media. It should be remembered that at this time Jersey was going through something near to a constitutional crisis. There were high profile demands, from within the island and elsewhere, for the enquiry to be taken out of the hands of the Jersey authorities, who were being portrayed by many in the media and U.K. politics, as secretive, sinister and untrustworthy, and placed under the control of independent prosecutors from the U.K. I held the view that all of the abuse allegations could be managed within the Jersey Criminal Justice System; although later in this statement I will describe some of the frustrations in attempting to persuade the Law Officers and others to recognise and address the adverse perceptions which the investigation was attracting.
174. Almost overnight we had moved to a position in which any replacement of Lenny Harper as S.I.O. would have been world news. At one point, frustrated by what he perceived as constant political sniping, he told me that if political actions interfered with his role as S.I.O. he would “not go quietly.” I was conscious from this, and other parts of the background of the case, that if the position of S.I.O. was not handled carefully it could trigger a “tipping point” which could have far reaching legal, political, and constitutional consequences. In any event, any change in Mr Harper’s status could only be undertaken with the support of the Minister for Home Affairs, who at that time was Wendy Kinnard. I have described previously that she appeared to be a strong supporter of his approach, and from what she told me, she was also sympathetic to the demands for independent prosecutors and judges. A change in S.I.O. because Mr Harper was about to retire, or even a change in consequence of an “early handover” were one thing. To change him in mid-flow for no better reason than the absence of current qualifications or similar reasons, might make sense in the upper levels of the police service, but would not be credible elsewhere, and could have had far reaching consequences.
175. Nevertheless, I gave thought to how we might develop a “plan B,” and be in a position to phase-in a new leadership should that be appropriate. The plan involved David Minty who was a Chief Inspector and head of the C.I.D. By that time some of the early confusion had cleared, and it was emerging that the “cover up” allegations did not appear to have implications for David. On one occasion when we were together I spoke to David Minty and Mr Harper about the need for continuity and the preservation of corporate memory. I said it was logical that the head of C.I.D. should undertake this role, and that David Minty should begin shadowing Mr Harper and become more visible in briefings and media events. I recall that this happened for a while but then became less noticeable. I see from his statement (paragraph 26) that David says this was in consequence of him being made Acting Superintendent and head of operations. I think that this is a thin excuse. He was given an opportunity, and should have grasped it. Most other people were by then, doing two jobs at once. He should have made more effort. I asked Lenny Harper about David Minty’s role, and he said that he had shown interest in the career opportunity of being associated with the enquiry, but less interest in the hard work involved. I accept that there will be more than one side to this account, but this is all of the information I have access to at the time of writing.
176. In spite of the difficulties, I persisted in considering an internal appointment of an S.I.O. at the appropriate time, and David Minty continued to feature in those deliberations. In paragraph 55 of his statement, André Baker describes a discussion we had during a break in an unrelated meeting in the U.K. Although my recollection of the details of what was said differs from his, I note he confirms that on 20th May 2008 I still saw David Minty as the favoured option to take over from Lenny Harper as S.I.O. I had discussions on this issue with David Minty and I recall that at my suggestion he completed a report setting out his willingness to undertake the role, and his qualifications for doing so. The investigating officer may wish to see if this report can be located. The appointment of David Minty as S.I.O. was one of the options I took forward to my discussions with David Warcup. Had this option been agreed it would of course have enabled a much earlier phased handover of responsibility. However it emerged that Mr Warcup preferred to have an independent S.I.O. from the U.K. I cannot remember the details of my discussions with David Warcup, but they must have involved consideration of the need for the enquiry to be seen to be fully independent of local political considerations, and how the appointment of a long-serving Jersey officer might impact on this.
177. I was not in disagreement with the decision to appoint an S.I.O. from the U.K, but was aware that this presented me with further challenges in managing the delayed handover between the two management regimes, and also the need to address the disappointment of David Minty. It also created a need for me to obtain political agreement for what was proposed. By way of partial corroboration of these events I see that on 9th June 2008 I made a note that I had discussed succession for Rectangle with Shaun Du Val. (Notebook 08/95 page 37.) I know that on another occasion when I was meeting with David Minty in relation to another matter, I took the opportunity to explain to him why he had not been chosen for the role. I am unable to find a note of this discussion.
178. While I was addressing the delicate matter of how to phase out Lenny Harper’s command of the enquiry, and the appointment of a new management structure there were the predictable demands for Lenny Harper to be given an extension to his contract and retained as S.I.O. These were led by Senator Stuart Syvret, but there was little doubt that he was also speaking for others. It was known that some witnesses and victims had confidence in Lenny Harper, and some understandable fears as to whether the independence and integrity of the investigation would be maintained in his absence. In the interests of completeness I should also add that the retention of Lenny Harper as S.I.O. was one of the options identified by the H.W.G. . (Third report. Paragraph 16.)
179. The local demands to retain the services of Lenny Harper were for the most part directed at the then Minister for Home Affairs, Andrew Lewis. I encouraged the Minister to hold firm and to be clear that there would be no extension to Mr Harper’s contract. I was determined that there would be a fresh start under new management. I felt confident that David Warcup would not want Lenny Harper “under his feet.” and that in consequence, Mr Harper’s retirement plans should be allowed to run their course. I recall that I rang David Warcup and confirmed that I had his support on this point. At some stage Andrew Lewis began to bend under the pressure. He said that it would be helpful if I could say that Lenny Harper did not want an extension to his contract. I said that I could not say this because it was not true. I had not mentioned the subject to Lenny Harper and did not know his views. He said that I should therefore speak to Lenny Harper and confirm that he did not want to stay on. I then asked what we would do if Mr Harper said that he actually wanted an extension? I got the impression that Andrew Lewis had not thought this through. I said that the best thing to do was to say nothing to Mr Harper. However, I reminded Andrew Lewis, not for the first time, that we were supposed to be working to a succession plan agreed by the States Employment Board and the Appointments Commission, and that it was not within the mandate of either of us to change that plan. I said that we should emphasise this point in any exchanges, and minimise any impression that we had discretion in the matter. I was aware that sticking to an agreed plan was not a conspicuous feature of Jersey politics, but felt that it was important that we did so on this occasion. Some of these exchanges took place by email.
180. So far as I can recall that is the full account of the history of Lenny Harper as S.I.O. for Operation Rectangle and of my involvement in this matter. During all of this period I was also running the Force, and there were all of the normal operational and staff issues to be addressed. The understanding always was that Lenny Harper would concentrate on Rectangle, and I would concentrate on running the force, and acting as a buffer between external influences, usually politicians, and the enquiry. I estimate that about 80% of my time was given to running the force and most of the other 20% was spent dealing with issues related to Rectangle. In the first report of the H.W.G. there is an item headed Governance of the Investigation” which states: “Other than from a supervisory and responsibility standpoint Mr Graham Power, Chief Officer for the States of Jersey Police, is not involved in the actual investigation. He is and has been, responsible for attending to any issues of a political nature or in an advisory capacity to the Chief Minister, ministers and politicians. It is very important that this continues to protect the investigation and allow for the investigation to be independent and unfettered by any demands.” Recommendation 13 of the same report states:
“That the Chief Officer maintains a safety zone between the investigation and any demands of politicians.” The second report at paragraph 44 states: “Governance — the Chief Officer retains the independent position to advise the politicians and wider community. This not only protects the enquiry from political interference but allows the S.I.O. and team to focus on the enquiry.”
181. The role described above is expressed in diplomatic terms but is nevertheless clear in its intention, and the actions which it is designed to support. The Chief Officer was to act as a buffer zone to protect the enquiry from “interference.” This is a role which may be unfamiliar to officers with a U.K. background. In Jersey there is no universally accepted doctrine of constabulary independence, and the concept of policing without “fear or favour” is not as widely respected as it may be in other jurisdictions. Views on the issue vary, but it is fair to say that there were, and still are, some elected representatives who struggle with the idea of an operationally independent police service. They prefer to see policing as just another public service comparable to Health, Housing or Education, where it is the role of politicians to decide how issues are to be addressed, and for public servants to implement the political will. It is fair to say that many thinking politicians recognise the problem, and have sought to address it through the establishment of an independent police authority or something similar. However, all such discussions seem to run into difficulty on the issue of who is in control of police operations.
182. It is against this background that I spent my time trying to defend the independence and the integrity of the enquiry, and address the issues of S.I.O. succession in 2008.
183. The Strategic Parameters for Operation Rectangle.
I have been asked by the Investigating Officer to comment on “The establishment of strategic parameters for Operation Rectangle.” In the interests of brevity I will also use this section to address the related question of any formal written strategy for Rectangle. At the risk of appearing difficult, I would point out that whatever direct involvement I had in Rectangle was for a brief period during the transition between two management regimes. By the time I had any significant role, Rectangle was a well established and relatively long running operation. It was one of a number of significant criminal investigations running within the force at that time, indeed at any time. It had a line management structure supported by staff trained in major crime investigation, as well as oversight by a “Chief Officer” who was the D.C.O. of the force. When I came to have a degree of personal responsibility for the enquiry I did not see myself as being obliged to go back to the beginning, and audit to what extent strategic parameters and things of that nature were in place. I had responsibility for managing the force and in dealing with what was happening there and then. Historical research was not part of the agenda.
184. I did however do what I could to check that everything was as it should be. I visited the Major Incident Room (M.I.R.) on a regular basis. These visits are documented in my notebooks. I checked that the contingency plans which I had previously developed with Devon and Cornwall Police were being implemented, and that the Devon and Cornwall commitment to provide the relevant key staff was being fulfilled. I always sought out the person who appeared to be in charge, and asked them if they were being properly supported in terms of welfare and accommodation, and if they had everything they needed. I would also ask questions along the lines of “is the system running as it should be?” I do not know how Major Incident Rooms work in detail, but I do know that they operate according to the requirements of the H.O.L.M.E.S. 2 computer system, to which I had negotiated access at the beginning of my tenure as Chief Officer. I relied on the reasonable assumption that this system will have mandatory fields for such things as strategic parameters, and that skilled operators would be alerted to any field which has not been properly completed. I say this because in my experience this is how police systems work. All of my questions relating to the operation of the M.I.R. were answered in a positive way. Although I have not viewed the document for some time I recall that the agreement with Devon and Cornwall envisages that they will manage and operate the M.I.R. They have the relevant skills and qualifications and the States of Jersey Police do not. I am aware of no local obligation to supervise or audit their work. I personally did not go into the system and attempt to discover what was and what was not there. That is not my role and I would not know how to do this.
185. I have noticed some reference to strategic parameters in the reports of the Homicide Working Group. I suspect that there might be other references in the disclosure material. For example the second H.W.G. report paragraph 19 states: The team has asked the S.I.O. to define the parameters of the investigation. He has confirmed that it includes: the homicide investigation at Haut de Le Garenne; the historical child abuse investigations at Haut de la Garenne; a confidential allegation in respect of a high profile member of the community; any suspect who worked at Haut de la Garenne who then went on to work in child care and allegations relate (sic) to that subsequent role; any victim at Haut de la Garenne who was relocated into alternative child care and further abused; and any offence that occurred with a connection to Haut de le Garenne, e.g. day trip boat rides. It does not include any allegations of cover up, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by a public official or any other unrelated homicide or allegation or child abuse”. Paragraph 6.1. of the first H.W.G. report states:
“Policy decision 2 details the investigation thresholds of ‘serious indictable offences.’ This is good practice at an early stage which allows the team to focus on the most serious offences and not be diverted by minor assaults that could have amounted to the ‘moderate correction of a child.” Paragraph 6.1 of the third H.W.G. report refers to the remains found at Haut de la Garenne and states: “The S.I.O. has intimated that if the children died post war a homicide investigation will be undertaken. The S.I.O. will then review the resource requirements to conduct both the homicide investigation and the on-going complex abuse allegations.”
186. The first H.W.G. report paragraph 7.3 states: “The S.I.O. is responsible for the strategic direction of the investigation. He makes and records the decisions.” If this was the case at the peak of the enquiry then it was certainly the case in the formative stages, when Lenny Harper was the “Chief Officer” with strategic oversight of the enquiry. The fact that he has retired and is no longer available for disciplinary investigation does not mean that I am culpable in his absence.
187. I can think of nothing further I can offer in relation to the question asked in respect of the strategic parameters of operation rectangle.
188. The Meeting Structure between Myself and the Senior Investigating Officer.
I have been asked to comment on “The lack of a formal meeting structure between yourself and the S.I.O.” I have described earlier in this statement the meeting structure of the force and how this is used to cover a range of issues. I have also made it clear that in a small force, with a handful of key players who are in daily contact with each other I see no need for the range of meetings, groups and working parties which often characterise the management of larger forces. However, once Lenny Harper assumed the full time role of S.I.O. in addition to his existing role as a “Chief Officer,” I recognised that I needed to maintain regular contact in order that I could be effectively positioned to carry out my own agreed role of acting as a “buffer” between the S.I.O. and external distractions. I also needed to be well informed in order that I could discharge my own media role of supporting the enquiry, and to continue to provide strategic level information to the media and government. I will write more about that later in this statement. There were other reasons why I needed to be regularly briefed. These included my need to know of any developments which appeared to compromise police officers or senior figures in the community, in order that I could consider any management or professional relationship issues. There was also the obvious advantage of me being able to act as a sounding board for Mr Harper, to learn of his intentions, and to engage in dialogue regarding any proposed action which might not have my full support, or which may have implications which he may not have foreseen.
189. These meetings were regular, face-to-face, candid and direct. At the height of the media interest they usually took place on a daily basis, and took place regularly thereafter. They took place at police headquarters, at Haut de Le Garenne, and elsewhere. When we could not meet fact-to-face we spoke by telephone. We were in contact during evenings, weekends and leave periods. I kept a note of the meetings in my notebook, and where appropriate, generated emails or other messages in consequence of what had been said at the meeting. If someone wants to call these meetings “informal” then I beg to differ. They were fit for purpose, and nothing more elaborate was required. I might add that the style of meeting I had with Mr Harper would be quite characteristic of how things are often managed in Jersey, and I suspect other small communities.
190. While the subject matter of the meetings varied, a typical meeting would involve Mr Harper updating me on the latest developments in the enquiry, and his anticipated actions for the days ahead. I would discuss any issues which I had “fielded” on his behalf, and perhaps bring him up to date on the general running of the force. We would frequently discuss the media coverage of the previous 24 hours, and any feedback I had received from within the political community. He would usually respond by expressing frustration at the nature of the reporting, and refer to the record of what he had actually said. I will make more comment on media issues later in this statement.
191. The Management of the States of Jersey Police Day to Day Business During Operation Rectangle. I have been asked to comment on the day to day management of the force during operation Rectangle. The Jersey public has become accustomed to high standards of police service, with an emphasis on visibility, and a focus on the concerns of ordinary people. Crime levels have consistently fallen and levels of public confidence, by various measures, have often exceeded 90%. It was clearly a challenge to maintain this level of service and public satisfaction during the exceptional demands posed by the abuse enquiry. The Force does not have the luxury of a large senior management team, and it is often necessary for key individuals to play dual roles. In addition there was the added complication of the professional standards aspect of the investigation. Enquiries Into the possible involvement of serving or retired police officers in cases of abuse, either directly as abusers, or in respect of failing to act on reports of abuse by others, were still live and it was not possible to predict where those enquiries would lead. The Operations Management Team is a close-knit group, which has a common email address. The decision, described earlier, to keep the key aspects of Rectangle on a “need to know” basis, impeded the corporate style of working which normally characterised the management team. I have described earlier how it was agreed at an early stage that I would concentrate on the running of the force, and how I sought to give around 80% of my time to that activity. For most of this time I was well supported by Shaun Du Val in his role as acting D.C.O.
192. There were the inevitable tensions between Operations Management and Rectangle in matters relating to resources. This was not only in respect of numbers of staff, but also in terms of local expertise. While Rectangle was being supported by temporary staff from outside the island, there was nevertheless a need for local officers to be closely involved, in order to retain local ownership and provide advice on local laws and procedures. These tensions are to some extent reflected in the observations of the H.W.G. Paragraph 13.4 of their third report states: The Ops Management have asked for States of Jersey police officers to be returned from Operation Rectangle to other duties in the island. They suggest that as staff from the U.K. are deployed on the operation, their own staff should be made available for deployment on other Jersey policing requirements. The request is understandable but key roles on the enquiry must be from Jersey. They know the powers, the systems, the processes and can meet the long term requirements of such a complex enquiry. It is particularly important as they move to the arrest phase.”
193. These issues were managed through the force management process, and through daily contacts and meetings. It was a difficult period, but with a few exceptions, the performance of the force was maintained, and the wider community did not suffer significant adverse consequences as a result of the resource impact of Rectangle.
194. The Allegations made by Senator Stuart Syvret Against the Attorney General and Others.
I have been asked to provide information regarding the relationship between the investigation and the Law Officers Department. I will do that in the next section of this statement. Before doing so I think it appropriate to write a section in respect of criminal allegations made by Senator Stuart Syvret in respect of people who at the time of the allegations held positions as follows: the Attorney General Mr William Bailhache (soon to be the Deputy Bailiff), the Deputy Bailiff, Mr Michael Birt, (now the Bailiff) and the Bailiff, Sir Philip Bailhache (now retired.) This information is offered because it is relevant to the background of the overall enquiry, and the relationship with the Law Officers Department. It also had a relevance to the relationship between the enquiry team and Senator Syvret, and the extent to which he was inclined to use his influence to persuade witnesses and others to trust the police and co-operate with the enquiry. Finally, my personal role in addressing the Syvret allegations also inhibited the extent to which I was able to participate actively in the relationship between the Law Officers Department and Rectangle while the investigation was current.
195. For a number of years, possibly starting before my appointment, Senator Syvret had been outspoken in his criticism of the Jersey legal establishment, and in particular in the approach taken towards child abuse issues. He had given interviews and circulated papers on the subject. He alleged that the Law Officers and the Courts had used their powers to cover up abuse by States employees and public figures. The implications of his allegations were that there was an “old boys” network which conspired to prevent abusers being brought to justice. These allegations had been repeated in statements to the press and others, and circulated in emails among the political community. The Senator and others had copied some of this correspondence to me over the years.
196. I had always taken the position that the allegations as they stood were not supported by visible evidence, and until such time as they were made formally to the police I did not have to take any action. I did not regard the circulation of an email as a “report.” At some stage the Senator became more determined and more focussed. This was at a time when Rectangle was gaining momentum and the issue was once again topical. Although I am prevented from having access to the relevant papers, I recall that at some stage the Senator entered into correspondence stating that he wanted to make a formal complaint. I recall I said this would require a police officer to take a written statement from him and he agreed to this. I recall that a statement was taken. I think this might have been done by a member of the Rectangle team.
197. My recollection is that the statement, when complete, made general allegations that the Attorney General, and his predecessor in that role who was by then the Deputy Bailiff, had a general propensity to direct that there should be no proceedings in abuse cases. He also alleged specific “cover ups” in the case of the abuse at Victoria College, and the case of the Maguires. I have referred briefly to both cases earlier in this statement. In the Victoria College case the Senator made much of the fact that the then Bailiff,(who is the Attorney General’s brother,) had been on the board of governors of the college during the period in which the offences took place, and had allegedly failed to take appropriate action in respect of the abuse. It was also said that key figures in the college at the time, who the Senator believed were responsible either for failing to prevent the abuse, or for impeding a full investigation when it came to light, had subsequently gone on to occupy senior positions in public life. He also appeared to allege that the decision of the then Attorney General (now the Bailiff) not to prosecute the Maguires, was motivated by an intention to protect key figures in the public sector.
198. I recognised that the allegations were significant for the island. They were effectively the “coming to the boil” of issues which had been brewing for some years. I discussed how the matter should be handled with Lenny Harper and Shaun Du Val (notebook O8/95 page 08.) We agreed that the complaints by Syvret should be addressed separately from Rectangle, and that it was appropriate for me to take personal control of the issue. I was assisted in this task by Shaun Du Val and other officers. I think however it is a matter of record that I took all of the major decisions. My first decision was that there would be no criminal investigation unless the “reasonable suspicion” test was passed. I was comfortable with this. I have seen too many long and expensive enquiries launched without this basic question being asked. If there was no “reasonable suspicion” that a crime had been committed then there could be no justification for the use of police powers. At some stage I was in the presence of the Attorney General in connection with another matter. He told me that he had heard of the allegations and he wanted them investigated by a police force from outside of the island. I told him that this was for me to decide in consultation with the Home Affairs Minister should the issue arise, although I noted his view. I then told him that I was not proposing to have any normal police investigation undertaken unless the reasonable suspicion test was passed to my satisfaction. I think that this took him by surprise but he accepted what I said and we did not speak about it again.
199. A consequence of this decision was that I had to determine how the “reasonable suspicion” test would be applied and who would help me address this. I had previously discussed the matter with Stephanie Nicolle, who was retiring as Solicitor General. This first discussion occurred on March 2008 (notebook 08/95 page 03.) She took a few days to reflect on the matter but later suggested that I take advice from the newly appointed Solicitor General who was Tim Le Cocq. I did as advised and together we agreed a plan. Advocate Robert Macrae, who was in private practice locally, and independent of the Law Officers, would be asked to provide advice. I agreed that the way forward would be to recover the case files in relation to Victoria College and the Maguires, and to select from storage a random batch of files in respect of which no action had been taken. Advocate Macrae would review the files and give a written opinion as to the decisions taken. As a form of double-check he would also obtain the written view of a U.K. Barrister based in London.
200. The outcome was that the review of the randomly selected “no further action files” recovered from storage indicated that while there were some marginal differences in view between the lawyers who were tasked with reviewing the files, and the earlier decision-makers, these fell within the parameters of normal judgement. The reviews of the Maguires and Victoria College cases were a little more complex. In the case of the Maguires it was concluded that the decision of the then Attorney General fell within the parameters of reasonable decision- making in respect of the information which the Attorney General had in his possession at the time. There might have been some issues around the standard of the information, but I cannot remember what they were. I do however remember that the file contained information to the effect that Mr Maguire was seriously ill with cancer, and not expected to live. This had apparently come from someone within the Force and had been accepted by the then Attorney General and others. As subsequent events have shown, it is likely that this information was false. It was not clear who was the originator of the information, and I saw no point in further enquiries in relation to that matter. In respect of the investigation at Victoria College, the legal advice which I received indicated there was some evidence that enquiries had been impeded by persons within the college, and that it would have been legitimate to consider the arrest and prosecution of other parties at the time of the events. However, I was also provided with legal advice which said that to do so now would be an abuse of process.
201. The question then arose as to how this information was to be communicated to Senator Syvret. One of the lawyers in the case drafted a letter for me to consider which was factual but also impersonal, direct, and unlikely to achieve closure. Shaun Du Val produced an alternative draft which was more suitable, but in my view still not appropriate in the circumstances. I wanted to communicate the difficult message that the allegations were going no further, but do this in a way which might be accepted and, importantly, would not be to the detriment of the understanding that Senator Syvret would continue to support Rectangle and encourage potential witnesses to have faith in the investigation. I spent about a week drafting the letter, which, by normal letter standards, is long and detailed. I did not receive a reply but subsequently heard that the Senator had accepted the contents, and was grateful for the effort made. The investigating officer may wish to view the letter and include it in the relevant papers accompanying his report. It is my definitive statement on how I feel about the allegations made by Senator Syvret. It also is yet another illustration of issues which I was managing alongside any oversight of Rectangle.
202. The Relationship with the Attorney General and the Law Officers Department.
I have been asked to comment on “The management of the relationship between the S.I.O. and the prosecutorial legal team.” I am happy to do this and intend to do so in detail. To begin with however it might be useful for me to make a simple statement of evidential fact in case it has been overlooked, Namely: I note that members of the Law Officers Department, and lawyers Involved in Rectangle have made statements. While these statements inevitably set out views which show some marginal differences between the lawyers involved, on one point they are unanimous. They all confirm that they were all given everything they asked for. Every lawyer in every statement describes a sequence of events which led to them being provided with every access and every facility they requested. They are equally unanimous that all of this was delivered under my command, either by me personally or by subordinates instructed to do so on my behalf. I cannot find in the evidence a single word of dissent on this important evidential issue.
203. The statement of the Attorney General offers an account of many of the relevant milestones in the development of the relationship with the legal team. At this stage I acknowledge that the Attorney General appears to have tried to be fair, and gives an accurate account of some of the key events. I will set out a different interpretation of some of these events, and offer some new information which the Investigating Officer may see as relevant. The Attorney General has completed his statement with the benefit of access to records and notes. I will be relying on the disclosure documents provided by the Investigating Officer, and my recollection of what occurred and when. In order to give an account from my perspective, it might be best if I begin by summarising some of the issues which I felt impeded the earlier development of the relationship between the investigation and the law Officers Department. In no particular order they are as follows:
· The perception issues arising from the fact that Jersey does not have a prosecution service. Prosecutions for serious crime are undertaken by the Jersey Law Officer’s Department. However, the main function of that department is to provide the island’s government with legal advice. The department has some secondary functions of which being a prosecution service is but one. When a potential prosecution is focussed on a government department and its staff, a perception is created that the “government’s lawyers” are the ones who will decide it there is to be a prosecution. This can undermine the confidence of victims, witnesses, and in some cases police officers, in the independence of prosecution decisions.
· Differences of opinion with the Attorney General regarding the need to address perception issues by appointing a high profile, specialist, and independent special prosecutor” or similar person to work with the police.
· Confusion as to the “chain of command” In the Law Officers Department and who was in a position to provide advice and decisions.
· The baggage of previous cases, including the Boschat case, described earlier in this statement, which had created relationship and confidence issues.
· Issues around the availability and workload of Advocate Stephen Baker who was engaged to assist the Attorney General.
· Reports which may not have had any basis in fact, which necessitated a discussion with the Attorney General regarding the suitability of Advocate Cyril Whelan to undertake a high profile role.
· The poor handling by Simon Thomas, a barrister from the U.K, of the initial relationship with the police team and the problems arising from his handling of the legal advice with regard to the case of the Bonners.
· Claims by Lenny Harper that he was receiving confidential information from within the Law Officers Department and the nature of that information.
· Reports that the Attorney General had been seen playing golf with one of the leading suspects.
· My personal involvement in the investigation of the allegations made by Senator Syvret against the Attorney General and others, and the necessity that I seek to maintain a distance between myself and the Attorney General during the time that investigation was current.
204. It may have been suggested that Operation Rectangle progressed through its earlier stages without the benefit of a partnership with the Law Officers Department. The disclosed evidence accords with my own recollection that two members of the Law Officers Department were assisting the enquiry in its earlier stages. They were Lawrence O’Donnell, who was a full-time prosecutor, and Bridget Shaw, who I think worked as a part-time prosecutor and is now the Assistant Magistrate. This is referred to in paragraph 9 of the Attorney General’s statement. The second H.W.G. report, under “Recommendation 9” refers to a meeting between the S.I.O. and Lawrence O’Donnell on 15th March 2008 to discuss the Wateridge case.
205. It was clear that before long, this established partnership with the Law Officers would need to move to a higher level. My own view, which was expressed at every stage and never changed, was that this would be best achieved by the appointment of an independent specialist lawyer, who could work full time on the investigation, and be a single point of contact for the Rectangle team. I thought the Attorney General should delegate as much of his authority as the law allowed to that person, and step back from direct involvement in the enquiry. I did not just think that the force needed this. I thought that Jersey needed it. I made this point to Ministers, to the Attorney General and, as an aside to another issue, to the Bailiff. I repeated this message at every opportunity. I linked it to my own vision of how Jersey was to recover from the difficult experience we were going through. Like it or not, the Criminal Justice system was approaching a controversial and sensitive enquiry in a climate of distrust, and accusations of conspiracy and cover-up. There were vocal demands for external intervention, and evidence that the relevant U.K. authorities were showing what was regarded as an intrusive interest in the island’s affairs. I was very clear in my own view of the route out of problems we were experiencing and frequently summarised it as follows:
· There was only one possible solution to the situation that the island was in, and that was one which entitled Jersey to say that all of the allegations had been examined thoroughly and that everything which was capable of being taken to court had been to court. If we did not bring closure to these issues in Rectangle, they would forever be returning to cause division and conflict.
· Jersey’s Criminal Justice system was capable of doing this and doing it well, but that would never be enough. We also had to convince the world that we had done it well, which meant that we had to manage issues of perception. A good way to start would have been for some senior figures to recognise that they had to think about perception at all. The dismissal of dissenting views in a way which appeared to be high handed or arrogant, even if accompanied by the right decisions, was not what the situation required. What people thought about the criminal justice system mattered almost as much as the effectiveness of the system itself.
206. I was immodest enough to think that my letter to Stuart Syvret was an example of how some of these issues should be handled and explained. I ensured that it was seen by senior figures in the legal establishment.
207. I have explained earlier in this statement how Lenny Harper’s experiences in Jersey had not led to him becoming an admirer of the island’s laws or prosecution processes. Nevertheless I thought that he handled the necessary relationships in a professional way. However, as Rectangle began to gather pace he began to speak of information he was receiving from within the Law Officers Department. He spoke of dissent within the department on the issue of the appointment of an independent prosecutor, and he alleged that the Attorney General had been heard to say that a prosecutor would not be needed as none of the cases would be going to court anyway. I did not give this a lot of credibility at the time, but gave it more weight later when Wendy Kinnard told me that she had been approached by a member of staff from the Law Officer’s Department who had expressed similar concerns regarding the proposed arrangements for prosecution. The investigating officer may see value in interviewing Lenny Harper on the issue of this alleged information, and in seeking to establish whether its authenticity can be verified in any way.
208. It might be useful to offer some comment on the role of Stephen Baker. Mr Baker is a highly regarded lawyer who is experienced in working with the police. He is liked and respected by police officers. From his evidence the impression may have been given that he was a lawyer dedicated to Rectangle whose efforts at engagement were frustrated. This is not entirely the case. He is a busy criminal lawyer with a heavy and varied workload. I see from the disclosure documents he was first appointed to the case in late January and had some involvement in issues around the charging of the accused Wateridge. I will return to that matter in more detail a little later in this statement. The point I wish to make at this time, is that in the period which followed his appointment the force was having exchanges with Mr Baker of an entirely different nature. He was at that time representing a man called Curtis Warren who had a few years previously, been described as the U.K.’s leading criminal. Warren was in custody locally, having been arrested in Jersey following a covert operation by the Force. Warren, who at one time appeared in the Sunday Times Rich List, was reported to have substantial criminal wealth, which he had successfully hidden from the various agencies which had sought its recovery. This led to an interesting exchange of correspondence between David Minty and Stephen Baker. David asked if Baker was being paid for his services, and if he was, whether he proposed to make a disclosure to the financial crime unit. I think that this was eventually resolved in favour of Baker, who successfully argued that he did not have to do so.
209. Warren’s defence relied heavily on attacking the process used to gain covert evidence. This involved some authorisations which I had approved. There were extensive disclosure requests, and a number of senior officers, including myself, were required to give evidence. I recall that I had to delay a planned period of leave in order to do this. The point I am making is that at a key stage in Rectangle, the relationships between the Force and Stephen Baker’s firm were mostly adversarial and in relation to the Warren case. He was by no means the dedicated full-time prosecutor we badly needed.
210. A short time afterwards I was presented with a professional and ethical dilemma and consequential distractions, by the appointment of Advocate Cyril Whelan to prosecute Rectangle cases. I am aware the Investigating Officer for Operation Haven is in possession of notebook entries which make reference to this matter. Cyril Whelan is another respected Advocate who is experienced in working with the police, and who has an impressive track record in prosecuting difficult cases. I personally know nothing to his detriment. At first I welcomed his appointment and saw no cause for concern. Then I remembered the intense media interest which there had been present in the earlier stages of the investigation and anticipated that U.K. journalists might assemble for the trials (assuming there were any.) They would be looking for sensationalist angles in their reporting. About the same time I remembered stories I had been told regarding Cyril Whelan. At the risk of being repetitious, I do not know if any of the stories are true, I just know that they exist, and that a number of people think that they are true. Any story relating to a known figure in Jersey has to be considered in the context of a local cultural tendency to invent and spread rumours regarding people in public life.
211. In brief, it appears that some people maintain that Cyril Whelan has a reputation for the sexual harassment of female staff. One story, which came to me from more than one source, is that he is alleged to be responsible for a case of harassment of a junior member of staff when working in the law officers department. According to the story the Attorney General dealt with the matter without any formal action, and that the victim left her position and was now working elsewhere in the public sector. It was alleged that some other staff members felt that the harassment had been “covered up.” The name of the alleged victim is known to me. One of her work colleagues spoke to me and told me that the victim had a dossier in relation to Cyril Whelan and she had seen it. The dossier was said to contain copies of compromising emails. It was said that the dossier was being kept for possible future use. I thought about what I should do with this information, and after a while I arranged to see the Attorney General. I did this because I felt that he should be aware of the potential risk should any element of the media attempt to run a “sex pest” type story should Advocate Whelan have a high profile in Rectangle. In raising this matter I had in mind both the interests of the enquiry and those of Advocate Whelan himself.
212. I spoke to the Attorney General on 30th April 2008. He said that he had no good recollection of anything of significance, but there might have been something in 2003 which Stephanie (Stephanie Nicolle the recently retired Solicitor General) had dealt with. He went on to say that he would research the matter and give it some thought. (Notebook 08/95 pages 26-27.) I did not press him further nor did I offer any view about what he should do. I just told him I thought that there was a risk of intrusive media interest whether the stories were true or false. I said that I thought that the risk was less than 10% but it was still a risk. I had no intention of raising the matter with anyone else. I was just informing him because I thought that he ought to know and I was leaving the issue with him. That was how the matter ended. I think Cyril Whelan continued to have a role in Rectangle but I do not think it was a very visible one. This was an awkward issue, and the outcome meant that a possibility of an effective one-to-one relationship with a leading lawyer had been lost.
213. In the initial stages of the working relationship with the Law Officers there were difficulties in relation to prosecution and charging issues. One related to the decision to charge a man called Wateridge, who had previously worked at HDLG and was accused of indecency offences involving children. I see from the Attorney General’s statement that this event took place on Wednesday 30th January 2008. Some of Mr Harper’s reasoning for not wanting to arrest and then release any suspect in order to await legal advice, involved a perceived need to maintain a momentum, and to strengthen witness and victim confidence in the authenticity of the enquiry. I was told from time to time that some witnesses with important evidence were speaking to the police verbally, but lacked the confidence to commit their evidence to writing. The charging of a suspect would be a symbolic act which might inspire confidence in the justice system in the minds of many who were still sceptical. If my recollections are correct, then the Wateridge arrest will have been after the unrelated arrest of Boschat referred to earlier. If that is the case then Mr Harper would have also wished to avoid a repeat of the “Boschat experience” described earlier in this statement, whereby the gap between arrest and charge could provide an opportunity for political attempts to interfere in the process. It is probably fair to point out that I did not see this in the same way as he did. I thought the events around the Boschat case were peculiar to that case, and unlikely to be repeated. However I was aware that the experience had affected the way in which Mr Harper was then approaching his relationship with the Law Officers, and his own preferences in respect of issues of arrest and charge. He had discussed his intentions with me some time previously. I understood that it was his wish to convince potential witnesses that this time it was “for real” by bringing charges early in the enquiry, and I supported the idea that he should move forward on that basis in liaison with the Law Officers Department. This discussion would have occurred when he was working with members of the Law Officers Department who were based in Police Headquarters. They were Lawrence O’Donnell and possibly Bridget Shaw, but I am not able to recall whether he said that he had discussed it with them. It would be surprising if he did not. I see from the statement of Stephen Baker that all of the relevant email exchanges relating to the arrest of Wateridge had been copied to Lawrence O’Donnell. It may be that he had been the person giving advice up to that point. The investigating officer may see value in exploring this whole issue with Mr Harper.
214. The core of the story is that Wateridge was in the process of being charged, when Stephen Baker attempted to intervene but apparently was too late to change matters. My notebook for that day records that in my briefing from Mr Harper I was told that there had been an “issue regarding charging.” (Notebook 07/358 page 68.) Stephen Baker’s intervention came at a time about which he states “At that stage I knew nothing about the cases.” (Statement of Stephen Baker paragraph 7.) He had clearly been retained by the Attorney General to work on the abuse enquiry. He knew that, and obviously the Attorney General knew that. I see from his statement that the Attorney General wrote to Lenny Harper to inform him of the arrangement 17th January 2008. No claim is made that there had been any contact with Mr Harper from Stephen Baker or Cyril Whelan, or that any meeting had been arranged to activate the relationship. One interpretation of these events could be that the police investigation was running ahead of the engagement by the Law Officers appointees, who were attempting to catch up with the enquiry at short notice, without having first established a working relationship or familiarised themselves with the details of the enquiry. This was not a positive episode in the working arrangements with the Law Officers Department and it led to some exchanges relating to how matters could be taken forward in a more corporate manner. I note that the Attorney General states that shortly after this episode a meeting was arranged between Lenny Harper, Stephen Baker and Cyril Whelan. The reports of the Homicide Working Group indicate that this meeting took place on 28th March 2008.
215. I recognised the need to build a closer working relationship the Law Officers Department and asked André Baker for advice on the best way to approach this. He said that the integration of a lawyer into the team would be a positive move and that “a step approach may be the best way to achieve such.” (Statement André Baker paragraph 44.) It was with this advice in mind that I approached the meeting of 22nd April 2008 with Stephen Baker, Cyril Whelan and Simon Thomas. I had previously had some professional involvement with Baker and Whelan but it was the first time I had met Simon Thomas. We had an amicable discussion, during which I made it clear that although the working relationship with the Law Officers department had experienced a bumpy start, I was determined to overcome this and achieve full integration with the legal team. The introduction of Simon Thomas to the enquiry was the first move in the “step approach” I was being advised to take, and I hoped that this would lead to the building of a successful and growing relationship in the near future. I see from his statement that after the meeting with me he had a “friendly” meeting with Lenny Harper and was provided with the necessary access and facilities.
216. Before moving on to the case of the Bonners and how this affected the relationship with the Law Officers, I will touch upon another aspect of the meeting of 22nd April, which related to a theme which I had been pursuing throughout the enquiry, namely the chain of command in relation to legal advice, and the need for clarity in respect of who the police were working with, and who was able to give authoritative advice and decisions. I recall that I raised this and was told by those present that Simon Thomas was working directly with the police, but that he was employed by Stephen Baker. I was told that Cyril Whelan was also working with Stephen Baker, and that the working relationship would be in Jersey, although either at this meeting or in a subsequent conversation I was told that a specialist lawyer in England would be receiving some statements by fax and giving advice. However, the Attorney General would remain in control, and would be taking the key decisions, although he would not be directly involved in the working relationship. At least I think that is what I was told. I later asked the same question directly to the Attorney General. He had to give the matter some thought, but then offered a similar analysis.
217. This was not the type of arrangement to which I had been accustomed in my previous working experience. I had been engaged in a number of enquiries in my previous force, mostly relating to professional standards issues, where a working relationship with prosecutors had been important. This relationship was always arranged the same way. At the commencement of an enquiry the Crown would appoint a single Procurator Fiscal with full authority to take all of the relevant decisions. The working relationship was between the one Procurator Fiscal and the one senior police officer. In my view this is how it should be. The arrangements applied by the Law Officers to Rectangle almost needed a flow-chart to be understood. They were fertile ground for inconsistency, mixed-messages, and misunderstandings. Things were difficult enough as it was, without the added burden of complex and confusing arrangements for legal advice and prosecution.
218. Nevertheless, following the introduction of Simon Thomas to the team I maintained an interest in how the arrangement was progressing, by asking Lenny Harper directly, and by chatting to staff when I was on “walkabout” in the Major Incident Room (M.I.R.) and elsewhere. I recall it was during this period that I met some junior lawyers who were in the M.I.R. They told me they were working on some disclosure files on behalf of Stephen Baker. Generally speaking, I was picking up positive indications and became quietly confident that the “phasing in” of the legal team was going to plan.
219. I now turn to the arrest of the Bonners and the events which followed. There are different accounts of this incident, but I believe that there is common agreement on some key core facts. These are as follows:
· There had been discussions between Simon Thomas and the officers in the case, in the days prior to the arrests. These appear to have taken place on 17th and 20th June 2008. No written record of these meetings has been produced.
· Simon Thomas gave legal advice. This appears to have been verbal. No written record has been produced.
· On the day of the arrests Simon Thomas was in England and gave further advice to police officers by mobile phone.
220. These events took place against a background of a decided policy of the S.I.O., described earlier, of seeking to charge suspects on the day of their arrest. The reasons for this policy are given earlier in this statement. The exchanges around the arrest and charge of Wateridge will also have alerted Stephen Baker to the views of the S.I.O. in this regard. I was later told by Lenny Harper that Simon Thomas was well aware of his intention to charge the Bonners on the day of their arrest and that Thomas agreed to that course of action. I am aware this is disputed by Simon Thomas.
221. Whatever the truth of the matter, it appears to be beyond dispute that confusion was allowed to develop. Simon Thomas knew full well that we were engaged in a “bridge building” exercise after a period of difficulty. In these circumstances he had a duty to be precise in his advice, and to be available at key moments in the enquiry. This did not happen. What happened may have been a genuine misunderstanding as to the way forward, but the actions of Simon Thomas contributed to the problem. I felt then, and I feel now, that he let me down and he let the Law Officers down. A carefully planned phased transition towards the full integration of the legal team into the enquiry had suffered a serious setback. I will now describe how I was alerted to this and what action I took.
222. I arrived at work on the morning of 25th June 2008 and was met in the outer foyer of my office by my then Staff Officer, Jeremy Phillips. Jeremy was good at sensing trouble and he would often speak to me directly if he saw a problem developing. On this occasion he indicated that he wanted to speak to me before anyone else, and before I got distracted by other things. He showed me the press release that Mr Harper had issued the night before regarding the release of the Bonners. I read it and recognised that it would cause problems. In short, the press release stated that the Bonners had been arrested on the basis of legal advice that they were to be charged after their arrest. It claimed that the legal advice had then been changed and in consequence they had been released. The media statement had generated significant interest.
223. I may have had some brief discussion with Lenny Harper on the media release during the earlier part of the day, but if I did it is not recorded. I do have a note that I spoke by telephone with David Warcup and discussed how the matter was to be handled. I also have a record that at 13:55 hours I attended a meeting at the Law Officers Department with the Attorney General and Andrew Lewis who I believe was Assistant Minister for Home Affairs at that time. (Notebook 08/95 page 47.) The Attorney General was angry regarding the events surrounding the arrest and release of the Bonners, and I could understand why. At the appropriate time I steered the conversation towards the need for a recovery plan. I emphasised that I was in the process of introducing a new management team to the enquiry and I had spoken that morning to David Warcup and obtained his agreement that the future of the enquiry would be structured around the concept of a “mixed team” of police officers and lawyers. (Notebook 08/95 page 47. Day book 25th June 2008.) I told him I proposed to direct that there should be no further arrests for the time being and I hoped that he would agree that any future legal advice would be in writing. I said that I planned for Alison Fossey to report directly to me over the next few days, and that she would be tasked with preparing the ground for the new management regime and the new working partnership. I also took the opportunity to repeat my long standing request that he appoint a single lead lawyer with delegated authority and full time commitment to the investigation. I later confirmed all of this in a letter. John Edmonds was present at that meeting. I had not met him before but learned that he was new to the island and had a background in criminal prosecution. I recall it was not long afterwards that I had occasion to speak to the Attorney General on another matter and I took the opportunity to ask if John Edmonds was a suitable person to be our single point of contact. The Attorney General seemed surprised at the suggestion and I heard nothing more of it.
224. Following the meeting with the Attorney General I had a face to face discussion in my office with Lenny Harper about the media release. He told me the investigating officers were sure that Simon Thomas had agreed that the Bonners be arrested and charged on the same day. The media had been aware of the arrests, and had asked for updates. Before the Bonners could be charged Simon Thomas had made a mobile phone call from a location in England, as I recall Mr Harper said that it was from a railway station, and had directed that no charges be brought at that time. Mr Harper said that this put him in a difficult position with the media as they wanted to know what had happened, and he did not want the police to be blamed for the confusion. I told him that nevertheless his actions had created something of a crisis which I would now have to manage.
225. I instructed him as follows and later confirmed what I had said by email:
· He should submit a written duty report on the incident.
· There should be no further arrests without specific written advice from the Law Officers.
· All relevant press statements will be cleared with the Law Officers before release.
226. I told Mr Harper that I would be engaged in further discussions with the Attorney General on the management of the problems arising from this event. I acknowledged that he was approaching the end of his service and was about to take a period of leave, before returning to conclude his role in relation to Rectangle. I said that I had been engaged in discussions with his successor who would have oversight of the enquiry and that it was clear that Mr Warcup preferred a close integration with the legal team, and that this was likely to be the direction in the future. It would be helpful if he did not impede that transition. I also said that I would be asking the Deputy S.I.O. Alison Fossey, to report to me daily, and it was probable that I would be asking her to do some preliminary work to secure the level of integration I envisaged for the future. At the end of this discussion Mr Harper left my office. (Notebook 08/95 pages 47-48 and follow-up email.) My notebook records that following his return from leave I had a small number of brief contacts with Lenny Harper during the period when he was “clearing his desk,” ready to hand over to David Warcup. I did not see Lenny Harper in the final 10/11 days of his service and have had no contact with him since.
227. Shortly after the Bonners incident I began my regular meetings with Alison Fossey. At an early stage I said that she should arrange to see Stephen Baker, find out what he wanted from the enquiry in terms of access and information, and tell him that he could have it as soon as it could be arranged. I then concentrated on giving David Warcup the support he needed to implement the necessary changes, and in focussing on previous experience in joint working as a key factor in the selection of the new S.I.O.
228. I have since seen a report in the Jersey Evening Post dated 25th June 2009 which quotes from the Attorney General’s Annual Review. In the report there is reference to the issues around Rectangle, and the Attorney General is quoted as saying “However, some of the faults must have been on the side of the law officers, whether of communication or otherwise. Whatever the cause, the result was that the low enforcement agencies did not work together as they should.”
229. I will now attempt to deal briefly with some of the lesser issues relating to the relationship with the law officers. At the beginning of this section I have touched upon my oversight of enquiries into criminal allegations made by Senator Syvret concerning the Attorney General and others. This has been dealt with in more detail in the previous section of this statement. I do not think there is much I can usefully add, other than to re-state that although I could not totally avoid the Attorney General during this period, my responsibility for the enquiry into the Syvret allegations was an inhibiting factor in respect of our working relationship.
230. I have also mentioned earlier the allegations that the Attorney General had been seen playing golf with a leading suspect, who was named as Danny Wherry. I know one report came through Wendy Kinnard, when she was Minister for Home Affairs. I have a brief note which may indicate that this conversation with Ms Kinnard happened on 23rd June 2008 (notebook 08/95 page 46). I was also aware there were said to be reports from other sources. I recall that enquiries were made and the person who was supposed to have witnessed the event either could not be traced, or was overseas and could not be contacted. For a while this story was “doing the rounds,” and it seemed that lots of people knew someone who knew someone who had seen this incident. I think that at some stage the story was put to the Attorney General and he said that he did not know if it was true or not. I was told that the Attorney General and Danny Wherry are both members of the same golf club, and it is possible that they may have played in the same group.
231. Personally, I see this as an issue which is in some respects typical of situations which arise in island jurisdictions, where key individuals live and work together in the same community. I am personally willing to accept that if the Attorney General played golf with Danny Wherry 100 times he would still be willing to prosecute him or not, as the evidence required. The stories did however impact badly on issues of perception, fed the imaginations of conspiracy theorists, and damage victim confidence. It would of course not have mattered much at all if the Attorney General had agreed to my request to appoint an independent prosecutor and step back from the whole enquiry. But that request was not acted upon.
232. I have been asked to comment on things I am reported to have said in the context of managing the relationship with prosecutors, concerning the imminent retirement of Lenny Harper and the impact this might have had on issues relating to the practical control of his actions. Anything I said around this will have been against the background of handling the transition to the new management regime. It was clear that both the Attorney General and Andrew Lewis were eager for change. I tried to persuade them to be patient and to allow the succession plan to take its course. I held strongly to the view that any direct intervention in Mr Harper’s role during the final weeks of his service would ignite a media frenzy, and distract from the smooth transition we were trying to achieve.
233. I was conscious that Mr Harper was under some pressure. The investigation had been demanding, and he had been through some difficult periods. I was also aware that there were some medical and other issues in his family which were causing him some anxiety. In addition, he was approaching the end of his long service as a police officer and this in itself was a major life event. Nevertheless I thought that he was coping well, and at our regular meetings he seemed to be in good spirits but clearly tired and ready for a rest. He had coped with some traumatic personal and professional events in the past, and had come through them well. He was on the receiving end of some political criticism, but there was nothing new about that. I was aware that both the Attorney General and Andrew Lewis were looking forward to his departure, and would probably be happy to see him forced out sooner, provided someone else did it; and did the explaining afterwards. I felt that the right approach was to stay calm and seek to achieve a seamless transition. Mr Harper was already in the process of closing down his role in the enquiry and this should be allowed to continue. I did at some time make the obvious point that he had by then passed the time where any disciplinary sanction could be applied to him, even if he had done anything which merited such action. The right thing to do was to manage him through his final weeks, and then re-launch the enquiry on a revised basis. In arguing for this approach I did not foresee the Bonner episode, but neither did anyone else, and by the time it had happened the handover had already begun.
234. Finally with regard to this part of the statement, I note the comments by some of the lawyers who have provided statements to the effect that from their perspective things improved significantly when Mr Warcup and Mr Gradwell became involved in the enquiry, and the apparent willingness of some lawyers to see this as evidence to my detriment. There is an absence of comment, or even apparent curiosity, as to where Mr Gradwell and Mr Warcup appeared from. Presumably nobody thinks that they dropped suddenly from the sky, although a reading of some statements might give this impression. Yet again, and for the record, let me repeat that both Mr Warcup and Mr Gradwell were appointed to their roles as part of a structured plan which I devised, and which I drove through the political process in the face of significant difficulty. If it had not been for my efforts neither Mr Warcup nor Mr Gradwell would have been appointed at all. When appointed they implemented my wishes, well documented before their arrival, to develop an effective partnership with the Law Officers Department. This is the basis of the claim made at the beginning of this section of my statement. Not a single lawyer identifies a single facility or a single piece of information which was not fully delivered, either by me personally, or by subordinates acting under my instructions, and at the time of my suspension there was in place a working partnership which met all of their expectations. That was an outcome of my efforts on behalf of the enquiry. There is not a shred of evidence that I failed to deliver in respect of any legitimate expectation regarding the working relationship with the Law Officers Department.
235. The Search of Haut de le Garenne.
I have been asked to comment on “The justification for the search of HDLG.” I do not think that I have a great deal to say on this matter. The reasons which led Lenny Harper as the Senior Investigating Officer to conclude that an examination of some locations at HDLG was appropriate are well documented. That was primarily his decision. From what I was told of the evidence, his decision seemed perfectly reasonable. I recall the original expectation was that we might be there for a couple of weeks or not much longer. The intention was to do some initial exploration to see if there was justification for further work. I have described earlier in this statement how I discharged my obligations under the Police Law by meeting with the Connétable of the Parish, and providing him with a briefing on the day the operation started.
236. As is now well known, the initial examination of the scene indicated a need for further work, and this in turn identified a need to explore further. I am aware of no speculative searching at HDLG. All of the searches were based on intelligence or evidence. The whole of the complex is a fairly large site. I have not worked it out precisely, but suspect that we might have searched no more than 5% of the total area. From time to time the work at the scene indicated that there were rooms and areas which had been “bricked up” and there was at least one false wall. These understandably aroused interest and it was necessary to determine whether there was justification for a more detailed search. The search dog seemed to play a significant role in determining whether a specific location needed to be examined further. I am not an expert on dogs or what they do. I do know however that this dog and its handler came with the appropriate recommendations from the U.K. and it was used accordingly.
237. There was always an intention to call a halt to the searches as soon as possible, but as soon as a potential exit date approached there would be another find, which necessitated further work. It has at some stage been suggested to me that we could have avoided having to search HDLG at all. I think that this is unrealistic. During Rectangle we were attempting to mop up rumours, reports and allegations which had been circulating for decades. As I have explained earlier, Rectangle was the chance to bring closure to a long running saga. The only way to do this was to be in a position to say that every line of enquiry had been pursued, and there was nothing else to do. If we had not searched HDLG when we did, then it would have become necessary for it to be searched at a later date, and in the intervening period the allegations of cover-up and conspiracy would have grown more complex, and taken a stronger hold in the beliefs of the community. I am sure that we were right to undertake the search at HDLG, and to place the Force and Jersey in a position to say that the whole issue of what may or may not have been concealed there, had been examined as thoroughly as possible.
238. I believe this was a common view at the time, although the views of some others appear to have been influenced by hindsight. For example note that the former Chief Minister, Frank Walker, whose statement indicates that he now holds a different view, nevertheless had no hesitation in April 2008 in telling the States that “I am satisfied, completely satisfied, that the police have a totally legitimate need to investigate those cellars.” (Statement Frank Walker paragraph 20.)
239. Operation Rectangle as a ”Critical Incident.” I have been asked to write about my understanding of the term “Critical Incident” in the context of policing. To some extent I have done this earlier when I described the policy-making process, and how consideration was given to adopting the concept of a “critical incident” in Jersey. I described how the necessary work was not finished, and how accordingly, the concept was never formally adopted.
240. I have examined the guidelines produced by the National Policing Improvement Agency for England and Wales (NPIA.) I will offer some comment on the guidelines, and their local relevance. Where applicable I will emphasise a particular part of the quoted text. Such emphasis will of course be mine and not that of the authors.
241. The guidelines state that they contain “Practice advice to assist policing in the United Kingdom.” The guidelines go on to state “The implementation of all practical advice will require operational choices to be made at local level in order to achieve the appropriate police response.” The broad sweep of the guidelines emphasises the need for early identification of an incident which may have a wider impact than the initial circumstances may suggest. Examples are given in the guidelines of cases which had a major impact, but which were initially regarded as relatively routine, with some consequential loss of control and effective management. The Stephen Lawrence and Harold Shipman cases are given as examples. Elsewhere in the document guidance is given on the relationship between local policing, in the form of Basic Command Units (BCUs) and the Chief Officer team based at the force headquarters. Readers are alerted to issues which can arise if local commanders are slow to recognise the significance of an incident, and bring it to the attention of the Chief Officer team, The advice is set in an overall context in which “more than two fifths (forty two percent) of victims were less than ‘fairly satisfied’ with the police response they received,” and in which there are issues of trust and confidence to be managed in partnership with minority groups in the community. There is also an identified need to access groups which are described as “hard to reach or hard to hear.” The guidelines emphasise the priority of addressing the impact on victims, their families and the community. These appear to be the priorities on which the police are encouraged to focus.
242. I cannot criticise the guidelines for their wisdom and value in a U.K. urban policing context. They do however describe a background which is a world apart from island policing, and the situation in Rectangle. Jersey has a single professional police service in which the Force headquarters and territorial policing are combined. All key managers meet every morning, and operational incidents are monitored by the management team both at work and from home on a 24/7 basis. Levels of public confidence are high, sometimes exceeding 90% in key areas, and the Jersey Social Survey indicated that in some cases minority group confidence was higher than the overall average. There is no suggestion that the significance of Operation Rectangle was in any way overlooked or missed. Far from it, the significance was recognised early. Oversight and investigation were provided at a rank level several tiers above that which might be considered normal for an enquiry of that scale (Statement of Peter Britton. 5th March 2009. Paragraph 6.) The approach to the hard-to-reach groups, who for the most part constituted the victims and witnesses in Rectangle, was carefully managed and effective. I will deal with this in more detail later in connection with a question relating to the “Gold Group.”
243. I see from the documentation which has been provided to me that on 28th December 2007 Mr Harper recorded that in his view Rectangle was “technically a critical incident.” He then goes on to describe features of the critical incident model which he had decided not to apply at that time. I also note that on 7th May 2008 Inspector Fossey records that ‘The historical abuse enquiry is a critical incident,” she then goes on to describe the family liaison strategy for Rectangle, and how this differs from the normal model used in U.K. This ambiguity is understandable. What is evident is that Jersey officers are showing an awareness of U.K. guidelines and are effectively “cherry picking” those aspects which they see as locally relevant. That is what they are supposed to do. That is the long established and politically endorsed method of policing in Jersey. If there is now a wish that things be done differently in future then that is a matter for government. It is not something which the force can determine alone, and it is certainly not a matter within the sole remit of the Chief Officer of the force or the Management team.
244. Decisions relating to the application or otherwise of Critical Incident guidelines were taken by the investigating team and in particular by Mr Harper, who was the “Chief Officer” responsible for the enquiry. I recall no direct involvement on my part and would not necessarily expect to be involved in the kind of details which, for example, are included in the comments of D.I. Fossey as described above.
245. The Role of the “Gold Group”.
I have been asked to provide information regarding my understanding of the concept of a Gold Group and related issues. I note the disclosure evidence provided that all relevant witnesses confirm the success of the Gold Group, established under my command and my instructions. I note that the Gold Group was operating successfully for over two months before my suspension. I believe that my timing for the establishment of a Gold Group was correct, and I will give reasons for this later in this statement.
246. However, to return to the initial question, I offer the following information on my understanding of the concept of a gold group, and my history of engagement with a group of this nature. I have described previously that I was promoted to Assistant Chief Constable in Lothian and Borders Police in 1991. I learned soon after my appointment that Chief Officers had evaluated a command system known as “Gold, Silver and Bronze.” The result of the evaluation was that the system was judged unsuitable for use in the police service. As I recall the reasons given included the fact that the proposed system envisaged an officer at police headquarters exercising command over the officer in charge at the scene of an incident. This was felt to be the wrong way round, and contrary to the established role of the O.I.C. (officer in the case/officer in charge/officer in command) system which operated generally in the service, It was also felt that “Gold Silver and Bronze” necessitated and additional layer of bureaucracy, and obscured issues of individual responsibility. I recall that the other emergency services also rejected the system for similar reasons. At some stage I learned that police forces in England had come to an opposite view. I cannot comment on this. I have not lived or worked in England for approaching 20 years, and am not able to speak with any authority on how things are done in that country.
247. When I was appointed as Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police I noted that “Gold, Silver and Bronze,” was in use for major events. I did not interfere with this. The force was accustomed to working that way, and I do not believe in change without justification. I did however ensure that whenever I was involved, Gold command operated with a light touch and that primacy was given to the judgement of the senior officer on the ground.
248. I recall a series of discussions around the concept of a partnership based approach for Rectangle. I remember discussing “partnership working” more than the concept of a Gold Group” although the two concepts are basically the same. These discussions were with Lenny Harper and André Baker and also, I think, with Wendy Kinnard, although I am less sure of the latter. Lenny Harper has documented his reasons for not establishing a Gold Group in December 2007. In summary these relate to the fact that there were allegations touching upon potential partner agencies, and that the establishment of a group at that time could involve the risk of compromise. He was right in that decision. In the early rush of activity after Rectangle became public knowledge, allegations of involvement, conspiracy, and cover-up were flowing thick and fast. Prominent individuals were being “named” and it was impossible to predict where all of the allegations were leading. I was sure that the force needed to move towards something along the lines of a “Gold Group” model, but equally sure that this could only be done when the evidential picture had achieved a level of stability which was not present in the early stages.
249. There were nevertheless discussions as to what compensating measures could be taken in the intervening period. Lenny Harper’s engagement with the N.S.P.C.C. from England was a positive move. They became part of the Rectangle team and brought a level of expertise which might have been available through a local partnership had circumstances been different. I also gave thought to how my own actions could bridge the gap until a time when a more formalised partnership could be in place. As a normal part of my duties I was meeting with the Chief Executive and the Chief Minister from time to time. I would use these occasions to provide updates and receive feedback. This would in turn be fed into my daily meetings with Mr Harper. Other routine meetings included the Attorney General, and to a much lesser extent the Bailiff. I also made use of my regular cycle of meetings with the Minister for Home Affairs and the Assistant Minister. These meetings provided an opportunity for briefings and feedback, which was supplemented by informal meetings, and encounters in-between more formal meetings. For example, notebook 07/358 page 50 records a chance meeting with Senator Perchard, who was at that time Assistant Minister for Health, during which issues around the enquiry were discussed. I have described earlier the meeting cycle of the force, and how this involved regular contact with finance staff. These meetings continued throughout Rectangle and will be addressed in more detail later in this statement. Additional to my discussions with the Jersey authorities I provided periodic confidential briefings to His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor in his capacity as the representative of British Crown interests.
250. Perhaps the most significant of the contacts I established and maintained during this period was with Senator Stuart Syvret and his partner Deputy Carolyn Labey. Senator Syvret was by nature a person who was unlikely to work in co-operation with any group he saw as representing the Jersey “authorities,” and this included the police. Yet he was a person who victims and witnesses would trust. He was our route into the “hard to reach and hard to hear” groups whose co-operation and confidence was important to the enquiry. I worked with Mr Harper in maintaining contact with Senator Syvret and Deputy Labey, and building their confidence in the independence and integrity of the police operation. This was done without compromise to confidential information held by the police. It was a relationship which was able to survive Senator Syvret’s disappointment at the result of his complaints against the Attorney General and others which I have described earlier. Victims and witnesses would approach the Senator with information, and he would agree to pass this to the police. In reality this information rarely added to our knowledge. What was however, of greater value were his public assurances that the police investigation would be thorough and independent, and his encouragement to anyone with information to contact the Rectangle team. This is my perspective of the relationship with the Senator, and how it worked to the advantage of the enquiry. The investigating officer may see merit in obtaining an account from the Senator’s own perspective.
251. It would be an over-statement to describe the activity in the preceding paragraphs as constituting the operation of a “Gold Network,” but I was nevertheless conscious that it combined some of the principles which I hoped to incorporate into a more formal group at the right time.
252. While the logic of the narrative to this point would appear to require that I go on to describe the transition to a full gold group and its timing, I am conscious that I have also been asked to write about issues relating to a Community Impact Assessment and the Independent Advisory Group (I.A.G.) There is a degree of overlap in the subject matter which makes it difficult to address these themes separately. There is also the significance of the consequences of the formation of the I.A.G. and how these amounted to a setback for the intention to form a gold group.
253. The Independent Advisory Group and Related Issues.
To begin with, I have been asked to comment on the matter of the Community Impact Assessment (C.I.A.) My recollection is that this was mentioned to me by DI. Fossey in an informal conversation which might have happened when I was on “walkabout” within police buildings or HDLG. She told me that a C.I.A. was being prepared. I noted what she said, and did not seek further involvement. From the context of the conversation I took it that she had been asked to complete the assessment by Lenny Harper. I was not familiar with the concept of a C.I.A. at that time but have since read about it from the guidelines on the management of a critical incident.
254. I see that the purpose of a C.I.A. is to “identify factors which may have an effect on community tranquillity.” Under the guidelines the responsibility for ensuring that an assessment is carried out rests with “Chief Officers. Lenny Harper was a “Chief Officer” for the purposes of those guidelines. The guidelines state that assessments “may involve cross-border considerations (eq. where on incident takes place in one B.C.U. and the family lives in another.) From my reading of the guidance it appears that the primary relevance is to larger forces where communities are diverse and where there may be tensions in relationships with the police. I take the reference to factors which may have an effect on “community tranquillity” to be coded language which relates to the risk of police actions having the potential to trigger public disorder.
255. I decided not to get drawn into a discussion of the relevance of a C.I.A. in Jersey. Island policing is very different from the situations described in the guidelines relating to critical incidents. To begin with, the police service in Jersey lives within the community it polices. There is nowhere else where it can live. I have previously worked in urban stations in the U.K. where no police officer lived in the community we were policing, nor would we want to. We drove in to work, policed the area we were paid to police, and then drove home afterwards, often thankful that we did not have to live near our place of work. Island policing is not like that. We live and work as part of the community we police. We shop in the same shops, and drink in the same pubs. Our children go to the same schools, and we get our hair cut in the same hairdressers. Police officers are known and recognised on and off duty. Our police officers are recruited from every significant ethnic and economic community in the island. In these circumstances I question the need for elaborate tools to tell the Force what is going on in the street where we live. I am aware that there will be other views. However, I am the Chief Officer of the Force and that is my view.
256. Irrespective of my views regarding the relevance of a C.I.A., it had clearly been commissioned by the S.I.O. and that was a matter for him. I did however continue to monitor a reliable source of community views on a regular basis. This was the crime victim survey work undertaken by the force research unit. Among other things, victims were asked a few simple questions designed to provide a measure of public confidence in the force. The results were published quarterly, but I would visit the unit on a regular basis. I did this because I had a natural professional interest, and also because the then Chief Minister, Frank Walker, and the Chief Executive Bill Ogley, had told me from time to time that Rectangle was “damaging the reputation of the force.” I once asked Frank Walker how he knew this, and he said that he knew it was true because all of his dinner-party guests and tennis partners said so. I was inclined to believe that the people to whom he referred were not necessarily a cross-section of the community, and thus sought reassurance from a more scientific source. For this reason I repeatedly checked with the research unit to see if there was any statistically significant change in public perceptions which might be attributed to Rectangle. None was found.
257. In his statement (paragraph 23,) André Baker describes a meeting he had with Lenny Harper, and myself at HDLG at which the formation of a gold group and an Independent Advisory Group (I.A.G.) was discussed. Mr Harper did not want either but I was coming to the view that we might need both eventually, although I could see the argument that the time was not yet right for a gold group. There was a convincing argument that there was not yet sufficient clarity around who, in the potential partnerships which would constitute the group, might be directly or indirectly compromised as a consequence of the investigation. After discussion I decided that we would press ahead and form an I.A.G. All that I knew about an I.A.G. was what André Baker told me at the meeting. I had never been involved in one before. André said that he would provide the necessary guidelines, terms of reference and advice. At that time I had mixed feelings regarding the relevance of an I.A.G. but felt that on balance it should be tried. For reasons which I have discussed previously, I had reservations regarding the importation of English policing methodology into a small island force. However, I was resolved that an I.A.G. would be formed and given a chance to succeed. In taking this decision I had a number of considerations in mind. Firstly, it might prove to be worthwhile in itself. Secondly, I had committed myself to working to the advice given by André Baker, and this was his advice. I either had to accept it or think of a good reason why not, and I could not think of one. Thirdly, in spite of my ingrained resistance to bureaucracy I was coming to the view that Rectangle was reaching a scale at which some of the management processes used in larger forces may need to be applied. This included a gold group. I saw the formation of an I.A.G. as “making a start” which could be progressively developed into other processes.
258. Having agreed to an I.A.G. I then set about putting it together. I used contacts to produce a list of names and was pleased when all agreed to take part. I took a personal involvement in the early business of the group then deliberately pulled back to allow the relationship between the group and the Rectangle team to develop. Quite early in the life of the I.A.G. I found myself fielding political flack from a variety of sources. No matter how often the purpose of the group was explained it was clear that some States members saw it as a threat. The group was portrayed as some sort of “watchdog” or oversight board which, it was argued, usurped the role of elected members. It was not long into the life of the group that the Attorney General became involved. This happened after the group had, with the best of intentions, invited public representations in respect of Rectangle. The Attorney General asked that I meet with him about this.
259. The Attorney General set out some of his reservations regarding the appropriateness of establishing such a group in Jersey. In his witness statement he says: “I was not sure that there was a role for such a group here in Jersey for this specific case alone. Whilst I can see the relevance of having such groups set up in the U.K. to advise for example where there were potential racial difficulties. I was not sure that there was (were) any potential difficulties in this case which could be perceived by the community and which were unknown to the police.”
(Witness statement of William Bailhache, H.M. Attorney General for Jersey, dated 30th April 2009, paragraph 112.) He also told me that he felt that the public consultation by the I.A.G. put them in contact with potential jurors, and could prejudice future proceedings.
260. I could see the logic in the view of the Attorney General. I knew through the history of our working relationship the he was sensitive to any introduction of U.K. practices into the island, and the formation of the I.A.G. was bound to run counter to his views. He also echoed my own views, expressed earlier, that in a small island force we do not need elaborate mechanisms to tell us what is happening on the streets in which we live. In case it is not obvious I make the point here that in some ways the experience regarding the I.A.G. almost encapsulates one of the principal dilemmas in the command of an island force and in some respects the command of Rectangle. If we do not follow U.K. procedures we may be accused of failing to follow “best practice.” If we do follow U.K. procedures we may be accused of unnecessarily importing “foreign” practices and undermining local autonomy.
261. The Attorney General told me that he wanted the I.A.G. disbanded. I thought that this would be a bad idea. It would be a media event in its own right, and create yet another incident to be managed. I spoke to colleagues and said that we should keep the group in existence if we could, but try to do this in a way which gave it a low profile. Conscious that if no action was taken it might just “fade away” I intervened on 4th August 2008 to press for a “re-launch” of the group. On 14th August 2008 I pressed for a further meeting and a chance for the group to meet David Warcup. D.I Fossey asked for delay due to availability problems. I feared that if another meeting did not happen soon, then recovery would be impossible. I instructed that a meeting should “happen” irrespective of whether all members could attend. This would allow David Warcup to introduce himself to members, and attempt to take the group forward under his leadership. (Email chain 4 – 14th August 2008.) The group continued to meet throughout 2008. I later learned that they resigned in 2009 well after I had been suspended. Whatever led to their demise, it was not due to any actions taken by me. I respect all members of the group for the effort they put in and for their patience during a difficult experience. They were all busy people who had voluntarily given up their time to undertake a difficult public role. I wish that things had worked out differently.
262. The experience of the I.A.G. caused me to think again about the extent to which I should be following the model recommended by the H.W.G. , and in particular the timing of the introduction of the gold group. I was having these thoughts at a time when relationships between Mr Harper and the Law Officers were strained, and there were corresponding tensions with other areas of the public sector. I was coming to the view that the formation of a gold group and the application of some of the processes associated with a major crime enquiry in the U.K. would stand the best chance of success if positioned as part of the change in the management regime for Rectangle. I discussed this with David Warcup, and indicated that I would try to keep things “ticking over” until he took command, and that thereafter, we should make a series of changes in the management and oversight of the enquiry. After David Warcup assumed responsibility for Rectangle we had a series of discussions regarding the enquiry, but specifically regarding the need for the new S.I.O., when appointed, to bring the investigation within a management structure which Mr Warcup would find more familiar. This is confirmed by David Warcup in paragraph 183 of his statement when he says “Throughout the selection process it was absolutely clear that we were recruiting a candidate who had the skills and experience to work to the recognised national standards which I have previously referred to.”
263. It was through this chain of events that the Gold Group came into being and was launched at a time when it had the maximum chance of success. I am pleased that this new innovation in the policing of the island has proved successful. I attribute much of its success to the preparation and timing which I brought to its introduction.
264. Finally I have been asked in this context to provide information on the process of review, and the justification for a single agency approach. I believe that both of these issues have been covered in earlier parts of this statement.
265. Financial Management.
I have been asked to comment on my obligations under the Public Finances (Jersey) Law 2005 and the financial management of Rectangle. The introduction of the 2005 Law was a significant event for the Jersey Public Sector and for the Force. Prior to the introduction of the Law the Force had a Finance Director and supporting staff who assisted the management team by monitoring budgets and providing day to day advice. The Director of Finance was a member of the Force senior management team and attended executive meetings. During this period, and all other times under my command the Force has operated within budget.
266. The 2005 Law introduced the concept of an “Accounting Officer.” I saw a copy of the law at the draft stage, and noted it proposed that the Accounting Officer responsible for the Force would be the Chief Officer of the Home Affairs Department who was Steven Austin-Vautier. I also noted that in the guidelines accompanying the draft law the duties of an Accounting Officer included the setting of targets and objectives for line managers, and the monitoring of their performance. This had the appearance of an attempt by stealth to bring the management of the force under the control of a Civil Servant. The Chief Officer for Home Affairs took his instructions directly from the Minister for Home Affairs, and he also had a line of reporting through the Treasurer to the States, to the Minister for Finance. I suspected that it was yet another move in a recurrent agenda which sought to bring the police service “into line” and give it a status no different from any other States Department. A few years earlier I had spotted a similar move during the drafting of the Employment (Jersey) Law 2003. The initial draft of the Law effectively turned police officers into employees of the States, and gave Ministers direct powers of discipline and suspension. With valuable and much appreciated assistance from the Law Officers Department this aspect of the law was withdrawn, and the status of police officers as “office holders” accountable to their Chief Officer was preserved. However, the Public Finances Law proved to be more problematic.
267. I had meetings on the subject with the Chief Executive Bill Ogley, The Treasurer to the States Ian Black, and the Chief Officer of the Home Affairs Department, Steven Austin-Vautier. I also submitted at least one paper opposing the proposals and giving examples of good practice advice from elsewhere. The thrust of my argument was that the Chief Officer of Police should be the Accounting Officer for the force, with appropriate qualified support, and that there should be no intrusive powers vested in a civil servant or any other person who was not a sworn police officer. This would maintain operational and financial responsibility under a single chain of command. The outcome was that I won half of the argument. On my analysis, once it became clear that the proposed controlling influence over the management of the force had been identified, and that it had been made clear that this would be challenged, there was no appetite to take it further. The attempt to bring the management of the force under political control through the small print of the Finance Law had been discovered, and whoever was behind the proposal would have to await their chance another day. However, it was decided that the Chief Officer of Home Affairs would be the Accounting Officer, but he would have no control over the management of the Force. Then, as now, the Chief Officer of Home Affairs is Steven Austin-Vautier. He had supported the original proposal. I told him that I thought that he was foolish to do so. He had accepted responsibility for something over which he had no control and this was always bad practice. In my view he should have supported my bid to assume the role of Accounting Officer, or better still, he should have supported my efforts to remove the Force from direct Ministerial influence by the establishment of a Police Authority as recommended by the Clothier Committee some seven years earlier, along with the devolved budget which formed part of the Clothier Model.
268. Not long afterwards the then Director of Finance and his staff were removed from police premises and re-located in the offices of the Home Affairs Department. I then had to think about how we would manage the Force without any qualified finance staff, and without any direct access to financial information. Having discussed the matter with Steven Austin-Vautier I decided that I should make it clear to the management team that the Home Affairs financial staff would have unrestricted access to the Force, and that finance staff were expected to attend meetings of the Executive Strategy Group and the Force Management Board. This would give them formal engagement with the management of the Force every one or two weeks as well as any informal contact they needed at other times. The Home Affairs Department finance staff (some of whom had recently been the police finance staff) did as requested and their attendance at Force meetings is well documented in the minutes of those meetings. There was always a standing item regarding finance, and the visitors from Home Affairs were encouraged to produce a single page report on headline issues. Primarily, this would involve details of spending to date and projections to the year end. If there was a projected over or under-spend there would be advice on how this could be addressed. If there was a “problem,” for example expenditure which appeared to be inconsistent with the budget, or a demand for expenditure which was hard to address, the meeting would nominate a member of the Operations Management team to work directly with the finance officer to resolve it, and report the outcome to the next meeting. Importantly, this was also an occasion for the Accounting Officer, through his representative, to formally record any concerns. The record will show that this hardly ever happened.
269. I believe that the record of the meetings referred to will show effective corporate governance of the finances of the force in difficult circumstances. Sometimes the arrangement led to near-farcical situations. On occasions the Treasurer to the States would ask for expenditure information, or there would be a need for the provision of financial data for some reason. This request would usually be addressed to the Accounting Officer or his nominee at Home Affairs, although sometimes it would be addressed to “all Chief Officers” which meant that it came to both me and the Accounting Officer. In the latter case the request would then be forwarded to me to deal with. I would respond by asking the relevant Home Affairs Finance Officer to provide the required information. I would then re-transmit the information back to Home Affairs so that the Accounting Officer could respond to the enquiry. Somehow we made the system work, but it is not an ideal way to conduct the financial management of a police force. At the end of each year Steven Austin-Vautier asked me for assurances regarding financial management. I think that this was a requirement of the finance law. This would trigger some exchanges about the degree of assurance I was able to give. We usually agreed a form of words which made it clear that I was providing any assurance on the basis of advice which I had been given by his staff. I know of no other police organization which operates without any financially qualified staff, and without direct access to financial information. When the arrangement was first imposed as a consequence of the Finance Law, I speculated with Steven as to whether he and I were being set up to fail. He did not think so.
270. When it became clear that Rectangle was likely to have significant financial implications I asked Steven Austin-Vautier what arrangement he wanted in respect of financial management. I was conscious that it was his decision to make. He was the accounting officer and he had the legal responsibility for the budget. He said that he would appoint his Senior Finance Officer, Liz Middleton, to work directly with the Rectangle team. Liz was in many respects the right choice. She was his most senior finance officer, well accustomed to working with the police, and her abilities were respected. There was however a drawback which I was not able to discuss with Steven. I was aware that she was in a relationship with one of the suspects. The person concerned was Tom McKeon who was the retired Chief Officer of the Education Department. The relationship was said to have been formed when they were working together in the Education Department. When the relationship became more generally known Liz was transferred to Home Affairs and Tom retired not long afterwards. Both Tom McKeon and his successor, Mario Lundy, were both being “named” in connection with allegations at the time.
271. This was during a stage in the enquiry when new allegations were a daily event and the picture was still incomplete. It later became clear that the main allegations against McKeon and Lundy related to physical abuse in their supervision of young boys, and that some might characterize this as “harsh treatment” rather than criminal abuse. However, at the early stages it was not possible to predict how far reaching or serious the allegations may turn out to be. I discussed with Lenny Harper how we should manage the appointment of Liz Middleton to the role and he did not seem concerned. As I recall he felt that she could manage the financial issues without access to operational information. He would monitor the situation and ensure that she did not gain access to the sensitive aspects of the enquiry.
272. From that point onwards I checked periodically with Steven Austin-Vautier that he was getting full co-operation from the Force. The budget for Rectangle was discussed regularly at management meetings. The record will show that details of Rectangle expenditure were reported at force meetings, and significantly, no concerns were expressed. No matter what the finance staff may say now, the fact is that they repeatedly attended meetings in the force when they “had the floor” and also had the opportunity to record any concerns regarding budgets, expenditure or access. They could do this verbally or in writing. The minutes were always an agreed true record of what occurred, and would be forwarded to Ministers and published on the force intranet. No significant concerns were recorded.
273. There were a few key events along the way which merit comment. One was the unexpected announcement by the Chief Minister, Frank Walker to the effect that money would be no object in the abuse enquiry. Under the Finance Law he had no authority to do this. Only the States could vote for expenditure which was beyond the allocated budget. This took all Chief Officers by surprise, and undermined efforts which were being made to impose financial discipline. This was not unprecedented. Ministers were sometimes prone to making headlineseeking announcements which had financial implications, without then having any notion of where the money would come from. In this case it was more serious because of the potential scale of the expenditure, and because most Chief Officers had not assessed the implications for their department, or how they would be managed. While Chief Officers and financial staff understood the true position in respect of the Chief Minister’s announcement, most other staff did not, and some saw it as a license to spend as they saw fit. Myself and others then had to devote time and effort explaining the correct legal position to staff and restraining those who were about to commit to significant expenditure. My email to David Minty dated 1st May 2008 is one example. In short, I had been asked to sanction some additional expenditure in consequence of the enquiry. I pointed out that the announcement by the Chief Minister may have been “ultra-vires” and that we should await the outcome of a formal vote in the States before making further commitments.
274. From time to time I received verbal assurances from Liz Middleton and her staff, and from Lenny Harper that the direct relationship was working well and that full access to financial information was being provided. Steven Austin-Vautier appeared to be doing things his way, which tended to be relaxed and informal. His department did not appear to me to have the same rigor in its corporate governance structure as the police. Nevertheless, it was his business and not mine, I was conscious of the problems which can occur when there are “two captains on the bridge of the same ship,” and I remained respectful of his responsibilities by keeping a discreet distance. This was particularly so in light of the assurances I was being given.
275. Things changed on 22nd May 2008 when the Treasurer to the States, Ian Black, intervened and appeared to remind Steven Austin-Vautier of the extent of his responsibilities as Accounting Officer. In an email the Treasurer told him “the Accounting Officer was personally responsible for prudent and economical administration, and that resources are used efficiently and effectively.” Steven was prompted to contact me on 27th May and ask me to sign a letter which provided him with assurances regarding the financial management of the investigation. This request was in addition to the annual document of assurance which I have referred to earlier. As far as I know this was the only action which Steven Austin-Vautier proposed to take in response to the email from the Treasurer. I declined to sign the letter. I was not directly involved in Rectangle which was being overseen full time by Lenny Harper. In addition, I had deliberately kept a distance from the relationship between Lenny Harper and the finance team. I resisted the temptation to remind Steven Austin-Vautier that the only way I could get financial information on any police activity was to ask a member of his own staff, who would be in an office a few feet from his own. However, Steven had asked for support, and I resolved that I would provide it. I also saw it as an opportunity to bring my own style of working to bear on the financial oversight of Rectangle, as opposed to what I saw as the less structured approach which Home Affairs had been taking.
276. I responded to him on 9th June 2008. The delay was because I had taken a few days leave which I had spent locally. (Notebook 08/95 pages 36-37.) I responded by suggesting that what the situation needed was a Financial Oversight Board (F.O.B.) with agreed membership, an agenda, and minutes of meetings. I recommended that apart from myself and Steven the membership should include Liz Middleton and the S.I.O. Steven agreed to my proposal, but seemed slow to take it forward. I see that the first meeting did not take place until 23rd July 2008. I recall that at the first and subsequent meetings I seemed to be the one taking the proactive approach. I introduced the concept of “constructive challenge” into the terms of reference and I urged Steven to obtain support from auditors. All of this was accepted. The investigating officer will note from the minutes of the Financial Oversight Board that there is no record of any unresolved concerns raised regarding the expenditure associated with Rectangle.
277. I was alert to the fact that I had agreed that David Warcup should press ahead with the establishment of a gold group, and there was an overlap with the responsibilities of the Financial Oversight Board. I envisaged that once the Gold Group was firmly established, it would be possible for it to absorb the F.O.B. into its business. I discussed this with David Warcup who had asked me about the future of the F.O.B. I explained the difficulty that both Steven Austin-Vautier and I were then in positions where we were taking personal responsibility for finance, and I was not ready to let go of personal control through the F.O.B. until I was sure that a proper and proven arrangement was in place for discharging those responsibilities on our behalf.
278. I have been asked to cover a number of other points relating to finance, some of which are tactical and some operational. I will provide as much information as I have on these issues. To begin with there is the curious matter of the Rectangle overtime costs, and their alleged impact on Jersey pensions. This is referred to in my email of 20th August 2008. This followed a meeting of the Corporate Management Board (C.M.B.) which is the public sector Chief Officer group. Towards the end of the meeting we were given advance information on the pension rises for the year, which were due to be announced. I recall that this information was given by Mick Pinel who is a senior civil servant in the Human Resources Department. He said that pension rises were linked to pay costs in the public sector and that these had risen by 5%. It was recognized by all present that this created a potential problem. There was a constant political agenda around the cost of the public sector, which in popular belief was overstaffed and costly. This belief was countered by claims by Ministers that costs were being reduced. I recall that the public sector pay increase for the relevant year had been about 2.5% and that there had been no significant increase in staff. A cost increase of 5% therefore needed some explaining. I had little doubt that the rise would be due to questionable re-grading and similar devices used to overcome pay restraint. I was therefore not pleased to hear that it was proposed to attribute the increase to the overtime costs of Rectangle. I saw this as a straightforward evasion of responsibility by those tasked with restraining public sector staff costs.
279. I argued it was not plausible that police overtime should have such an impact. The Force as a whole only constituted 6% of the public sector. I said that if challenged, I would point this out. There was some discussion and back-tracking, but I left the meeting feeling that an attempt might still be made to make the police scapegoats for failings in the system, or of individual performance. On returning to my office I sent out my customary email to the management team alerting them to relevant issues arising from the C.M.B. In this case the pension rise and its implications was the only item. I alerted them to the issue and set out “lines to take” in the event of any media enquiries. I have stated earlier how it is my practice to suggest “lines to take” with the media on difficult issues. This is a practice to which I will refer again later in this statement. I make no apologies for the attempted mirth in the email. We were having few enough laughs at the time, and an attempt to ease the famine was justified.
280. In respect of specific issues, such as the financial policy book and travel costs I see that an email chain dated 27th May 2008 indicated that the Accounting Officer, Steven Austin-Vautier and Liz Middleton were meeting directly with Lenny Harper. The emails also confirm that access was given to the financial policy book, and that there was scrutiny of travel costs. This is in accordance with my own recollection. I recall only one issue about travel costs in which I became directly involved. I believe that it concerned a trip to Australia to interview witnesses which resulted in questions in the States to the Minister for Home Affairs. I asked Lenny Harper about the costs and he provided an explanation which addressed the concerns. I have also been asked about hotel bills and hospitality. I do not think that I can help with this. These issues are a long way down the management chain, and I assume that nobody expects that I would have personally scrutinized hotel bills and things of that nature. I was satisfied that qualified financial personnel were being given unrestricted access to all relevant items, I was satisfied that they were reporting regularly to both me and the Accounting Officer on the results of their work, and I have no recollection or record of an relevant concerns being raised. Similar reasoning applies to issues such as the costs of forensic and other experts. My understanding is that these resources were obtained in consultation with the relevant U.K. authorities and their cost was whatever is normally paid in such circumstances. I am not an expert on what forensic experts should or should not be paid. I was not personally involved in the recording of any of this expenditure, nor as Chief Officer of the Force would I expect to be. The feedback I received from the appointed financial experts was that all matters were properly documented and the records were available for examination. The finance personnel employed by the Home Affairs Department have a number of roles, one of which is to give me regular advice on the financial management of the business of the force, and to bring to my attention any matter which requires my intervention. No evidence has been offered that any financial matter was brought to my notice which was not properly addressed by me.
281. I have been asked about cordon costs, and I can help a little with this. In a small force the cordon could only be staffed by means of overtime, and I knew this would be expensive. I used my contacts and influence with the Honorary Police to maximize their involvement. I encouraged the establishment of “mutual aid” to the St. Martin’s Honorary Police, and personally and actively worked the relationship to maintain commitment and involvement. This included networking with senior honorary officers, as well as regular visits to the honorary officers staffing the cordon. If this had not been done successfully the costs would have been substantially higher. As with a previous item. Corroboration may be available from Centenier Malcolm L’Amy who was actively involved in this partnership.
282. On a minor point Liz Middleton, in paragraph 18 of her statement, speculates as to whether I received financial training on 27th March 2007. Notebook 07/120 page 2, records that during the day in question I was engaged in other matters which included the planning of a cycle event. I recall this involved a stage of the Tour De Bretagne, and there were sensitive issues to be managed including the presence of the Gendarmerie for the duration of the race. I have no recollection of being given the training to which she refers.
283. I do not think that there is a great deal more that I can add on the subject of finance. I was actively engaged in attempting to make a seriously imperfect system work, and at every stage I was advised by qualified financial experts. I have seen no claim or any evidence that any access, or information, was denied to anyone with a legitimate responsibility for the management and scrutiny of the budget of Rectangle.
284. Finally, I notice that on 25th July 2009 the Jersey Evening Post carried a report of evidence given to the Public Accounts Committee by Steven Austin-Vautier. He is reported to have said that Rectangle exposed “serious weaknesses” in Home Affairs accounting arrangements. The report says that he described the difficulties arising from the fact that the department had two Chief Officers, and that he as Accounting Officer had no control over police operations. He described the arrangement as “vulnerable.” There is no report of Mr. Austin-Vautier having told the Committee that I opposed the arrangement from the very beginning because of the divided responsibility and vulnerabilities which he describes. He also appears to have been silent on his own role in undermining my attempts to prevent the arrangement being imposed.
285. Media Management. ; General.
The Investigating Officer has provided me with a significant list of points to cover in relation to the media aspects of Rectangle. Included in these is a request to comment on “The sensationalist media releases and the consequences of these.” I am happy to do so, and it is perhaps appropriate that I begin with an admission. I am aware of one media event associated with Rectangle which can fairly be described as “sensationalist.” It is apparent that during the course of that event, both the media and the public were provided with misleading information, and that the consequences of this were both damaging and long term. I refer to the media conference staged by Mr. Warcup and Mr. Gradwell on Wednesday 12th November 2008. I will address that event in more detail in a later section of this statement, but will first set out some of the history in an approximate chronological sequence.
286. To begin with, it needs to be remembered that for about the first year of its existence Rectangle was a covert operation, with no media aspects to address. That is not to say there was media silence on the general subject matter. Senator Syvret and his supporters were active in alleging that Jersey had a hidden history of child abuse, and that the authorities were resolved to do nothing about it. He was equally sure that the police were compromised, and that the local force would never take effective action. We obviously monitored these media and political events, but made a conscious decision not to counter any of the stories by admitting the existence of Rectangle. Over time the media focus grew stronger and interest was shown by U.K. broadcasters in the story. It was clear that at some stage we would have to go public, but that ideally this should be at a time which met operational requirements, and was allied to an appeal for witnesses and victims to come forward. I know that Lenny Harper spent some time visiting a specialist unit in the Metropolitan Police, where he received advice on timing and process. Work was done developing a website giving contact details for the enquiry and to encourage victims and witnesses to get in touch.
287. Throughout this process, the roles of me and Lenny Harper fell into a pattern which was to be carried forward into the later stages of the enquiry. He managed the enquiry. I managed the external relationships and the running of the force. I did not reveal anything confidential to Stuart Syvret but I tried by various means to convince him that the police were independent, and that we would respond professionally to any evidence of abuse. I also had brief conversations with the Minister for Home Affairs Wendy Kinnard, the Chief Minister Frank Walker and the Chief Executive Bill Ogley. I did not divulge a lot of detail, but the core of what I said was that we were looking at some historical reports in order to determine whether a full investigation was justified. I gave Wendy Kinnard what amounted to political advice on the matter. I said that how she positioned herself in relation to the Syvret campaign was a matter for her, but that a position in which she appeared to suggest, as some were, that Syvret was making allegations which had no substance, could leave her wrong footed. I gave similar advice to Bill Ogley with the suggestion that he try to influence the public statements of Ministers accordingly. I also advised Bill Ogley and Frank Walker that should a major abuse enquiry be launched there would be significant media management demands upon the island’s government, and they should consider making appropriate preparations. I do not think that they absorbed this message.
288. As things progressed I decided that my briefings to the key figures needed to be put on a more formal footing. This was done by the reading of prepared statements from my notebook to Wendy Kinnard and Bill Ogley. It may be recalled that I have mentioned these statements previously. They were agreed in advance between myself and Lenny Harper, and intended to put key figures on formal notice that the profile of events was likely to increase. I also described one attempt to read a statement to Frank Walker, but he decided not to attend the briefing. As before, these statements can be found in notebook 07/58 where they commence on pages 20 and 24. There can be no doubt from these entries that key figures in government were formally put on alert that Rectangle was about to “take off” and that some preparation would be appropriate. They also show evidence that there had been earlier briefings containing less detail. Through all of this I was trying to maintain common ownership of the enquiry, and maintain unity through what I anticipated would be a difficult period.
289. When Rectangle became public, which was in the latter part of 2007, the political controversy intensified. There were angry exchanges in the States and elsewhere, which in brief involved Senator Syvret stating that he was right all along, and Ministers defending their position. On 19th February 2008 the search at HDLG began. Attempts were made to keep information about the search on a need-to-know basis, but it somehow came to the notice of the media and a photographer, said to be from the News of the World, was found hiding in the bushes. According to my notebook this appears to have been on the same day. (Notebook 07/358 page 79.) I have recorded that I spoke to the Chief Minister, Frank Walker, and alerted him to possible media interest in order that he could prepare himself for any approach. I discussed the position with Lenny Harper. We agreed that we could not let the local media discover details of the search by reading the News of the World, and that it was appropriate to give them some indication of what was going on. I am not sure, but it might be this was done on the same day or the following day.
290. I have been provided with a copy of a press release which appears to have been issued on 23rd February 2008 and relates to the “first find.” I recall we prepared something before that but I am not sure. My recollection is that we discussed drafts of some initial media releases which were low profile, suggesting that we were examining the location for evidence and nothing more. It may even be that we passed brief details verbally to contacts in the local media. This recollection is re-enforced by a notebook entry on 22nd February which refers to my discussion of a “cover story” with Lenny Harper. (Notebook 07/358 page 83.) I also note that Louise Journeaux refers to a media release which was not issued (statement Louise Journeaux paragraph 8.) Whatever it was we said, or indeed if we said anything at all, it cannot have gained wide attention because I see that in his statement Senator Shenton states that when we worked a nightshift together on 22nd February 2008 he was unaware of what he describes as the “excavations.” (Statement of Ben Shenton paragraph 2, and notebook 07/358 page 83.) I do not want to get diverted on this point, but there is among all this, clear evidence that we hoped to undertake necessary work at HDLG and to leave afterwards, with the minimum of media attention. We were not looking for a media presence at HDLG. Jersey politicians were providing enough media entertainment of their own, and we hoped that we could keep the search operation out of the spotlight.
291. Things changed when we had the first find, generally known as the “fragment of skull.” There had been a build-up to this event which is worth a few words to set the scene. My notebook indicates that on 20th February Mr. Harper had told me that the search dog had given an “indication” (notebook 07/358 page 80.) near to the point on the floor where bones had been reportedly recovered around 3/4 years previously. The brief history of this was that bones had been found during building work but had been identified as animal bones. Some witnesses had subsequently cast doubt upon this identification. I spoke to the Chief Executive Bill Ogley and he had agreed that we could start to take up the floor (notebook 07/358 page 80.). In case it is not obvious I spoke to him because it was States property and he had agreed to be the point of contact for any consent. I see from my notes that much of this day and the other days between the start of the search, and the first find, was spent speaking to various people in government, keeping them updated, and resolving any misunderstandings. I also followed up an issue regarding suspect Danny Wherry who had visited the scene, allegedly in his capacity as a representative of the property services department for whom he worked at that time. I asked Bill Ogley about this, was later told by him that he had made enquiries, and been assured that the visit was apparently legitimate, and in connection with departmental business (notebook 07/358 page 81.). I did not think this plausible, but felt that the matter could be taken no further at that time. I would have informed the Major Incident Room (MIR) of the result of this enquiry.
292. I see from my notes that on the morning of Sunday 23rd February 2008 Lenny Harper telephoned and told me about the first “find.” (Notebook 07/358 page 83.) My recollection is that he said that it was “a piece of a child’s skull.” He said that it had been positively identified by a qualified scientist at the scene, and that it had been found in the location where the bones had been found previously. By then the media interest had grown, and he felt that he had to make an announcement to counter leaks and speculation. I do not know if he said so at the time, but he had an agenda of seeking to build confidence in the momentum of the investigation, and refute claims that the police were part of any establishment cover-up. We could do little for the reputation of the government or the criminal justice system, but we were both resolved to place strong emphasis on the independence and integrity of the police. The challenge of achieving this is comparably difficult in Jersey. In the U.K. and other jurisdictions the authorities may have their problems, but it would be unusual to find any comparable part of the British Isles where suspicion and cynicism regarding those in authority was so ingrained in the popular culture. There are no ACPO guidelines which offer help in dealing with this scenario. Yet it was ever present. It is the “elephant in the room” which had an influence on the enquiry, and the actions of many of its key players.
293. After this conversation I made contact with the Minister for Home Affairs, Wendy Kinnard and the Chief Minister Frank Walker. I gave them an update. (Notebook 07/358 page 84.) This was part of a further effort to prepare the island’s government for the inevitable increase in media interest. Later that day Lenny Harper issued his media release which refers to the “potential remains of a child.” We had not as far as I can recall discussed the wording which would be used in the release. He was a long-serving and experienced police officer who had a style and mind of his own. Nevertheless, I was a bit surprised at the words he had used. Not because they were untrue, because it was believed that they were, but because they were insufficiently precise and capable of wider interpretation. Nevertheless, if we had found a part of a child’s skull, then a child was dead. There could not be much doubt about that. Never at any time did I suspect that the original identification by the scientist might be wrong. So far as I was concerned a qualified forensic expert had identified the find, and the police were acting on the basis of what we had been told.
294. This news led to a significant rise in the political temperature, and some high profile appearances in the U.K. media involving the Chief Minister Frank Walker and Senator Stuart Syvret. It was generally felt that Walker did not perform well, and did not succeed in convincing his audience that his government had nothing to fear from the enquiry. I make this point because it is my recollection that it was the political exchanges as much as the police investigation which was driving media interest. Journalists were becoming focused on the political debate as much as anything which was said or done by the police. The news of the find also fitted a wider agenda of “Island of Secrets” with hidden money, hidden bank accounts, hidden abuse and now hidden bodies. Over the days which followed, I was busy in discussions with government, visits to the scene and related issues. I was concerned that Jersey’s government was not handing things well, and this was feeding media interest. I spoke to the Chief Executive Bill Ogley and encouraged him to form a small crisis management team which should meet every morning. He did this and included the Home Affairs Minister Wendy Kinnard along with a group of other Ministers. I do not know the full composition of the group but I believe that it included the Chief Minister Frank Walker, the Health Minister Ben Shenton, and the Education Minister who I believe was Mike Vibert. Wendy Kinnard only attended the first few meetings. She told me that at every meeting she had come under attack from the other Ministers because of her responsibility for the police. This was a constant theme in her discussions with me during the enquiry. On more than one occasion she told me that whatever Ministers were saying in public, in private they did not support the enquiry and just wanted it to go away.
295. I also had a direct discussion with Frank Walker in the presence of Bill Ogley. According to my notes this appears to have been on 26th February 2008. (Notebook 07/358 page 86.) I told the Chief Minister directly something he already knew, namely that he was performing badly in the U.K. media, and that this was damaging to the island. He was not used to dealing with a hostile media and was finding the whole experience traumatic. I offered some suggestions. I said that he needed expert advice, or he should start listening to the advice he was being given. I then offered some advice of my own. I pointed out that he repeatedly appeared in outdoor interviews, in a long dark coat and dark glasses. He looked, and sometimes sounded, like a Mafia Godfather. He needed to address that image. I was conscious that the political pantomime was attracting media attention to the enquiry and encouraging sensationalist reporting. The media were releasing interviews with victims, or people who said that they were victims, and the whole agenda was escalating. The Chief Minister made some changes to his approach in consequence of the advice given to him by myself and others. Nevertheless, the media performances of Frank Walker and other local figures continued to constitute a “media magnet” which had consequences for the coverage of the enquiry.
296. A few days earlier I had heard some news which created further challenges in respect of media management. I discovered that the Dean of Jersey, The Very Reverend Bob Key had arranged a Church service which would be attended by local dignitaries, and anyone else who wished to take part. This was in the Church at Gouray, close to HDLG. I forget what the official reason for the service was, but in the media and the public mind it seemed to assume the status of a communal act of remorse or something of that nature. I should say that I have not the slightest doubt, that this was arranged for the very best motives and with hindsight some move of this nature was probably inevitable. It did however constitute a further enhancement of potential media interest. I have a note that on 25th February I telephoned the Dean and we discussed the service. (Notebook 7/358 page 85.) I was concerned that the whole thing was spiraling upwards and that public perceptions were being driven by what the media were alleging, rather than what the police were saying. I told Bob Key our position was that we did not know if any crime had been committed, and that contrary to reports there was no murder enquiry. I suggested as best I could, that he tone his words accordingly.
297. I discussed the Church service with Lenny Harper, who immediately said that he would have nothing to do with it. It would inflame media interest, and his presence would only make matters worse. I agreed, but as Chief Officer of the Force I did not think I had the luxury of choice. I had to attend. To do otherwise would have created yet another story. Accordingly, appropriately dressed in my best uniform, I attended the service on the evening of Tuesday 26th February 2008. (Notebook 07/358 page 87.) When I arrived at the church, I was surrounded by cameras and microphones, and when I left the church, I was blinded by spotlights, and again surrounded by the media. I gave a significant number of media interviews on that occasion, as I did on a number of subsequent occasions. I will now go on to address what our approach to the media was at the time, our respective roles in dealing with the media, and the key messages we tried to emphasize.
298. From the beginning we agreed that we would try to be as transparent as the circumstances allowed. This was to build confidence in the enquiry and to encourage anyone with evidence to come forward. The media frequently contrasted this with the “secrecy culture” which they perceived to exist in the governance of the island. There was no suitable place at HDLG to hold a conventional style press conference. Lenny Harper decided to give his interviews in the road outside. This was a style which suited his general approach. I have seen many police press conferences on television. These are usually carried out from behind a table and accompanied by attempts to manage the questions. Some are good. Many are wooden and laden with police-speak. Few have the feel of being genuine or personal. It was never likely that Lenny Harper would be comfortable in a formal conference setting. He was up close, direct and personal. It was his natural style. He was also good at it. He could face the world’s media without a script and answer any questions without notice. Few police officers can do that.
299. We divided our responsibilities and agreed “lines.” I would concentrate on the strategic questions, and he would deal with the operational aspects. There was bound to be overlap, but I was resolved not to get into operational detail. In some discussions with politicians, I was occasionally asked if I could also cover the details of the enquiry itself, and effectively combine the two roles. This was suggested as some people felt Lenny was the cause of the intense media interest, which some in government found uncomfortable. In my assessment, the main causes of much of the interest were the number of people giving detailed accounts of abuse to the media, (described in H.W.G. First report paragraph 8), and the bumbling attempts of some politicians to address media questions. Additionally, I did not have the command of detail which Lenny had. He was engaged in the enquiry full time. I was attempting to concentrate on the running of the force, and, in accordance with the policy described earlier in the H.W.G. reports, acting as a buffer between the enquiry and external distractions. I note from the statement of the Force Media Relations Officer, Louise Journeaux (paragraph 3) that in the early days of the enquiry she believes I had about ten interactions with the media. This would be consistent with my recollection. I know that from the commencement of the enquiry up to the appointment of David Warcup I gave interviews on a regular basis. After David Warcup was appointed I deliberately pulled back so that he could take the lead.
300. Sometimes the media interviews I gave were specific to the enquiry, but frequently they were an aside to other matters. As Chief Officer of the force I had a high profile and would give media interviews on request at almost any time. I do not remember ever turning down a request for an interview by the local media on any policing issue. During Rectangle these interviews might be about operational events, crime statistics or some other relevant topic. There was an understanding that when I had spoken on the main theme of an interview I would answer a few general questions about Rectangle (this approach is touched upon in the H.W.G. second report in reference to Recommendation 13.) I see that in the notes provided to me it is suggested that some people think I did not do enough in my dealings with the media. This is plain nonsense, and needs no counter-argument from me. The record speaks for itself.
301. Our media lines were consistent and well co-ordinate. They can be confirmed by accessing the recordings made at the time. We would stress that we were investigating serious allegations of abuse. We were searching at HDLG because there were reports of suspicious incidents, and scientific indications which we had a duty to investigate. There may be foul play, or there may not. Everything which had been found could have an innocent explanation. We were not investigating a murder. In his early briefings Lenny Harper said “We have no allegations that anyone died or was murdered here.” (Media Review. M. Tapp. Page 22.) The H.W.G. reviewed the media strategy and said “The S.I.O. has retained an open mind with regard to the piece of skull that was recovered. He acknowledges that it could be quite dated and not from a murder.” (H.W.G. First report paragraph 8.)
302. As part of the disclosure process, I have been provided with a report by a P.C. Dunwell-Smith which reviews some of Lenny Harper’s media broadcasts. The document speaks for itself. The following are representative comments which are consistent with my recollection of what was being said to the media:………. “28/02/08 …SKY…’Must stress that there may be an innocent explanation for what the dog may have found.” …….”Journalist asks about ‘shackles’…………LH states that they haven’t found any shackles in there and thinks they relate to a statement given by a builder in the last couple of days. An ‘item’ was found in the cellar, making enquiries into this.”………… “LH emphasizes that there is no evidence that anyone was murdered or died at HDLG in these rooms but there is evidence of abuse there.”
303. My own media work was in a similar vein, but less specific I emphasized that we were dealing with serious allegations of abuse. I said that these types of allegations were hard to investigate. Sometimes in enquiries of this nature there would be cases which people might think should to go to court, but which were not prosecuted. That was because historical cases were recognized as difficult, but we would nevertheless do our best. Anyone with evidence was encouraged to come forward. The police were working independently of any political interference and Lenny Harper was doing a good job trying to thoroughly investigate what was alleged.
304. On some occasions I was drawn into more specific comment. Some of this happened after the Church service, and will be on record. I recall one exchange because it typified the yawning gap which was emerging between what the police were saying to the media, and what the media were reporting. This was a frequent source of tension with Ministers and other politicians. They would read something sensational in the press and just assume this was what Lenny Harper had said. I repeatedly had to point out that he had said nothing of the sort. At times I had the feeling that some politicians were stepping beyond reasonable challenge and criticism, and were seeking to demonize Mr. Harper as the source of all of the problems. I had to remind them that the cause of the problems was the historical abuse, and the apparent failure to confront it over many years, not the person who was trying to discover the truth and bring closure to the situation. In this context I recall being asked during a media interview about the number of locations which were being searched within the HDLG complex. I said that we were searching about 6 locations. We were doing this because we had been given scientific advice that these were locations which merited investigation. I recall saying that “we might find something or we might find nothing.” I said all we could be sure of was that these were locations which, as professional investigators, we had a duty to explore and try to find the truth one way or another. The following day I saw a headline which said “Police Search for Six Bodies.”
305. I monitored Lenny Harper’s interviews through Sky News, and in our regular meetings the media strategy was discussed. We talked of the advantages and disadvantages of scaling down media interest. We knew that it was difficult and expensive for the U.K. media to operate in Jersey. We felt that if we slowly reduced the number of briefings they would effectively grow hungry for news elsewhere and gradually drift away. Running counter to this was Lenny Harper’s view that the media coverage was opening doors, and bringing in new evidence. From time to time he would point to the number of calls which had followed a particular broadcast. Checked this out for myself. When on “walkabout” I would talk to the staff operating the dedicated phone lines for victims and witnesses. We had published the numbers of these lines in the press and on the internet, and repeated the numbers during the media broadcasts. The staff I spoke to provided anecdotal evidence of interviews with Mr. Harper which, when broadcast, had resulted in a surge of calls, necessitating the deployment of extra staff and overtime. This anecdotal evidence should now be capable of objective assessment. The Investigating Officer may see value in a linear chart indicating the number of calls over a period of time and an analysis of whether any surges appear to be related to a particular media event.
306. By mutual agreement we began to scale down the release of news, and as anticipated most of the media drifted away. We then faced the task of putting the record straight, and shifting the perceptions created by misleading reporting during the initial phase of the search at HDLG. I will return to this aspect later in this statement.
307. I will now turn to some of the specific aspects I have been asked to address. I have been asked to comment on the media strategy. Following the initial work at HDLG the pressure of events appear to have impacted on the preparation of a written media strategy. I note that the Force Media Officer, Louise Journeaux says in paragraph 27 of her statement that a written strategy was produced with help from Devon and Cornwall Police, but that this work was not finished until 1st March 2008, and later updated. I have seen a copy of the media strategy. I see nothing exceptional in its contents, and note that it relates to the investigation of offences of historic sexual abuse. It does not refer to the investigation of any other crimes. I have also seen the comment on media policy in the first report of the H.W.G. Section 8 which refers to the attempts by the S.I.O. to respond to media speculation and “minimize sensationalism.”
308. I have also been asked to comment on ACPO and NPIA guidance in relation to media strategy. I cannot claim to be well acquainted with either. The Investigating Officer has helpfully provided a copy of the ACPO Media Advisory Group Guidance Notes. They constitute a formidable document, and no particular area is highlighted. I have seen nothing in the document which runs contrary to my recollection of the media policy during Rectangle. I have also been provided with a Home Office research paper entitled “The Effective use of the Media in Serious Crime Investigations.” It appears to offer advice on best practice based on research. I note that it makes the following comments:
“Getting information out allowed the investigation to take the lead in press handing at an early stage, while allowing the rest of the investigation to progress. Furthermore, it was argued that early initial communication with the press limits the degree to which they formulate their own accounts of what happened and begin their own ‘investigations’ .“
“Finding ‘unknown witnesses’ was the most frequently stated objective for press appeals.” “The media can be an important mechanism for generating valuable information from the general public.”
“providing more detailed information to the general public can increase the likelihood of generating additional valuable information.”
This advice appears to be entirely consistent with the approach taken to media management during Rectangle.
309. I have also been asked to comment on “an abuse of process argument, the damage to the reputation of the SOJ and the loss of ability to identify new genuine complainants by corroboration of their statements with investigative discoveries.” I will deal with the “abuse of process” issue first. It is my understanding that some of the accused who were charged as a result of the enquiry claimed that there had been media releases which constituted an abuse of process. I also understand that their claims were subject of a hearing before the Royal Court. I have been told that after hearing the evidence the Court ruled that no abuse of process had occurred. Accordingly I see no need to comment on this issue.
310. I am not sure what is meant by “damage to the reputation of the SOJ.” Taken literally this means damage to the reputation of the island’s parliament and government. I am not sure I accept that the preservation of the reputation of political institutions is necessarily a priority for a police force. I rather think that the principle of policing “without fear or favour” takes precedence over other considerations. However, if there was evidence of any reputational damage, I would be more inclined to attribute this to the media performances of the former Chief Minister Frank Walker, rather than any actions of the police. I notice that Mr. Ogley alleges damage to tourism and business, but offers no data in support of this. I have seen nothing which provides evidence of damage to the island’s interests as a result of Rectangle. On the other hand, there is evidence that the enquiry enhanced confidence in the island’s criminal justice system. This is demonstrated by the substantial increase in the number of reports of historic abuse. I have referred previously to the one statistic which I have seen, namely an increase of 152% in the number of historic abuse reports. This was reported in statistics published by the Force in late 2008. The Investigating Officer may wish to satisfy himself that this figure reflects a general tend. I do not think that there is any more I can offer on this topic.
311. The comment regarding “the loss of ability to identify new genuine complainants by corroboration of their statements with investigative discoveries,” is not a matter on which I can offer any detailed comment. It is clearly an issue of investigative tactics. Lenny Harper was an experienced detective of Chief Officer rank. He was advised by Andre Baker who was recognized as a leading expert in the investigation of serious crime. I did not question, nor was I qualified to question, the operational judgment of either on matters of detail.
312. It might be appropriate at this stage to make reference to the apparent views of Wendy Kinnard as Minister for Home Affairs during the peak period of media interest in HDLG and Rectangle. As described earlier, she was our single line of political accountability. There is no Home Affairs Committee and no Police Authority. Just one Minister to whom we are accountable. The views of Wendy Kinnard as Minister for Home Affairs in respect of Mr Harper’s performance are therefore significant. They are particularly significant because the stance she took at that time constitutes the position of the person to whom the force was politically accountable during that period. It appears that other people have subsequently taken Ministerial office, who have a different view. That might be the case now, but they were not in office at the relevant time. During the key period of the enquiry we responded to the political lead we had. There was no other political lead for us to respond to. Throughout this period Wendy Kinnard expressed support for Lenny Harper’s media management and leadership of the enquiry. She was frustrated by the criticism made by political colleagues, and discussed how she could do more to support Mr Harper’s efforts. At some stage she decided that she wished to award him a Ministerial Certificate of Commendation for his media management and leadership in the enquiry. I have a note that this award was presented on 21st April 2008 (notebook 08/95 page 20.) I recall that the decision to make the award was taken by Wendy Kinnard some weeks previously, and my P.A. Pauline Oliver, was tasked with producing the framed certificate. During the course of the Haven enquiry I have asked the current Minister for Home Affairs, to provide me with a copy of the certificate in order that I can produce evidence of the award. He has refused.
313. Finally in the general section of this topic, I see that I have been asked to comment on the media issues relating to the arrest and the release of the Bonners’. I believe this has been covered fully in the section which relates to the working partnership with the Law Officers. I cannot think of anything further I can add on this issue.
314. Issues concerning the “first find.”
I have been asked to comment on “The facts surrounding the `skull’ find and your efforts to establish the truth in light of questions being raised in the media and the SOJ.” The initial “find” and the announcement which followed have been described earlier in this statement. During our regular meetings Lenny Harper told me that the dating of the layer in which the first find was made had placed it outside of the parameters of the enquiry, and that accordingly it was no longer of evidential significance. At no time in our discussions did he ever suggest that there was any doubt regarding the nature of what had been found.
315. On 30th April I received an email from Senator Jim Perchard, who at that time was the Assistant Minister for Health, which asked me to confirm that the “piece of bone” had been confirmed as human. His enquiry did not ring any bells at the time. I had heard nothing which had cast any doubt on the nature of the first find. Before I replied to Senator Perchard I corresponded separately by email with Lenny Harper, and I took his response to be confirmation that nothing had changed. I have since re-read his email and note that it is less specific than it could have been. It could even be said that it “avoids the question,” by referring to problems which had arisen in dating the item, then saying “other than that there is nothing to add.” Nevertheless, it is fair to say that his message does not alert me to the possibility that the fragment might not be bone. Accordingly I responded in good faith to the enquiry from Senator Perchard, and told him that nothing had changed in relation to our knowledge of the item. I responded to the Senator on the basis of the information I had been given, and I had no reason to believe that anything I said to him was untrue. That was the only basis on which I would respond to a legitimate enquiry. If, for example, an enquiry related to a matter which was operationally sensitive, then I might say that for operational reasons I was not able to comment. If I decided that I could comment, then I would only offer the truth.
316. I recall that I had just arrived in the isle of Man for a meeting, when someone told me that there was a news story which claimed that the first find was a piece of coconut. This would be on 20th May 2008. (Notebook 08/95 page 34.) The report came as a total “bolt from the blue.” Nothing had prepared me for this news. I spent the next couple of days in phone calls speaking to Lenny Harper and Wendy Kinnard. I sought more information, and advised on “holding lines” to take with the media and others. (Notebook 08/95 page 34.) On 23rd May 2009 I had returned to Jersey when I received a phone call from a journalist called David Rose. (Notebook 08/95 page 34.) Our conversation was brief. Some time previously, another journalist from a respected newspaper had warned me to be wary of Rose. I was told that he was a good investigative journalist, but for some unknown reason had built up a history of attempting to undermine abuse enquiries. I did however listen to what Rose had to say. He wanted to question me about whether I had told the truth to Senator Perchard. Significantly, he read out to me details of the earlier email exchange between myself and the Senator. It was clear that he had been given a copy of this correspondence. I think we discussed this, and he did not make a clear admission, but the inference was that he had obtained it from the Senator. I told Rose that he was “just a voice on the end of the phone” and I could not discuss the matter with him. I see from the above notebook entry that following the conversation with Rose I sent a note to Lenny Harper and Louise Journeaux. The Investigating Officer may see value in attempting to trace this document.
317. By then the political and media interest in the issue was rising. I had a number of discussions with the Minister for Home Affairs Wendy Kinnard, and Lenny Harper. (Notebook 08/95. Pages 34-36.) I asked Mr Harper directly about the doubts concerning the first find. He said that there had been confusing messages from the lab in relation to the matter, and he would “take full responsibility.” About that time he did a live media interview on the subject. I remember thinking this was rather brave in the circumstances but typical. As I recall, he said that the scientific evidence was inconclusive, but apart from that, the age of the sample put it outside the parameters of the enquiry. I remember that he was challenged as to why he did not report the doubts earlier. He said that he did it to protect the victims, because he knew that if the doubts became public some Jersey politicians would use the opportunity to attack and undermine the victims and witnesses. This was hardly diplomatic, but I do not remember hearing anyone deny this.
318. I discussed with Wendy Kinnard, and also the Chief Executive Bill Ogley, how we should deal with the matter. I recall that I gave strong advice. I said that we should bring the issue within a formal accountability process, and seek to close down further discussion meanwhile. I pointed out that the Minister had the authority to require a report on any matter of concern, and that she should do this. She should then refuse to give any further comment on the basis that she was awaiting a report, and she would decide on any further measures when this had been studied. Accordingly, I asked Lenny to submit a report on the whole issue. He did this. I then attached a covering letter, and sent the report and the letter to the Minister for Home Affairs. (I am 80% sure that it was a letter. It may have been done by email but I think not.) My covering letter set out the options available to the Minister, and I also discussed the matter with her. I pointed out that she might have concerns regarding the conduct of Mr Harper. She might also have suspicions that I had not told her the truth. If she felt this, then the proper thing to do was to ask for an investigation headed by an appropriate senior officer from an outside force. I had no difficulty with that. I also added however, that any enquiry should also be asked to address the question of the apparent leak to David Rose, and whether Senator Perchard, or another person, had committed any offence under the Data Protection Laws by leaking the contents of the email. The report and my covering letter were given to Wendy Kinnard and I believe they then went to the Council of Ministers. After that I heard nothing more about the matter. I was not surprised. While some Ministers would have welcomed the opportunity to initiate an investigation into myself or Mr Harper, they would have less interest if it affected one of their political colleagues. They would have to wait their chance another day.
319. Some Brief Issues on “media lines.”
In paragraph 111 of his statement David Warcup describes a matter which occurred after he had been sworn in as D.C.O., on 8th August 2008. I believe that at this time Mr Harper was still officially a member of the Force, but that he had taken some leave prior to his retirement date, and had effectively left the service. It is even possible that he had left the island. There had been a newspaper report which claimed Mr Harper had made some negative comments regarding the prosecution process. I consulted the Attorney General and we agreed that he would provide any response which was required. I then communicated a “line to take” to David Warcup.
320. In his statement, (paragraph 111) David Warcup places a negative interpretation on the line I was suggesting. He says that he was surprised to see a comment from me which said “A good time to keep our heads down if possible.” He then goes on to say “1 did not feel it was a ‘good time to keep our heads down’ as the matters concerned needed addressing not avoiding.” In light of this it is worth examining what was actually said and done in more detail. To begin with:
· The Attorney General had agreed that he would respond to any matters implying criticism of his department. It was my view that in light of this we should avoid getting involved in a triangular exchange which would allow the media to look for differences in the tone or content of our response, and thereby imply that there were further unseen issues.
· David Warcup is quoting only part of the relevant section of the email. When the rest of the text is seen the meaning is different. What the email actually says is (my emphasis.) “A good time to keep our heads down if possible.” “We are aware that a number of files relating to suspects are currently under consideration by the law officers department. As these relate to current investigations it would not be appropriate for the force to comment at this time.” In other words I am offering a clear media “line” as to what we should say. I am saying that we should make use of the fact that cases had entered the prosecution process, and try to “close down” media discussion. This was a good tactic. Nothing was to be gained by re-visiting old tensions. This line was also copied to the force Media Relations Officer Louise Journeaux. My practice of suggesting media “lines” in difficult situations has been described earlier in this statement.
· I now turn to his comment that “the matters concerned needed addressing not avoiding.” The “matters concerned” related to the relationship between the force and the Law Officers Department. David Warcup and I had first discussed this in February 2008, and in the months before his appointment we had agreed that he would take the lead in establishing a new working partnership. We had discussed this directly with the Attorney General and the necessary changes had already commenced. Nothing was being avoided.
321. In order to demonstrate consistency in my approach I offer one further example. Following further alleged comments by Mr Harper after his retirement, I sent an email to Andrew Lewis on 16th September 2008. As part of that email I say “I suggest a ‘straight bat’ at this time.” “we should not prolong the debate by adding to it. Comment would give rise to further questions and so on. Also given that prosecutions and arrests are pending then any comment from the force could cause legal problems. I understand that the A.G. has issued a statement in consultation with David, this might be the one you have, and I suspect that our view is that this is enough said for now.”
322. This was a consistent line which I followed in the period in question and one which I encouraged others to follow. It might be that another person would have taken a different line. That is not the point. The point is that I decided on the position we would take and communicated that position to those who needed to know. The decision on the “lines to take” fell entirely within the parameters of matters I was entitled to decide, and I took the decision.
323. “Putting the Record Straight” in July 2008.
I have described earlier in this statement how, following the events surrounding the arrest of the Bonners in late June 2008 I had less contact with Lenny Harper and for most of the time worked directly with Detective Inspector Alison Fossey. I was also in regular touch with David Warcup. There was however one matter which Mr Harper and I periodically discussed. This was the need to “put the record straight” after the misleading media coverage earlier in the year. I have stated previously how we had become concerned at the gap between what we were saying to the media, and what the media were reporting, and how our concerns were compounded by the difficulty which some people in government had in distinguishing between the two. Some of the misleading reporting was a consequence of journalist seeking out and interviewing victims and witnesses, but some seemed to be pure invention. There had been repeated attempts at the time to communicate a more accurate line, but success had been limited. For example, I note that in his statement Frank Walker refers to an announcement that a full homicide enquiry could not be justified, which was made on 18th April 2008. (Statement Frank Walker paragraph 21.) Other similar announcements were made around that time but did not seem to receive adequate exposure.
324. The calmer atmosphere of this period allowed Lenny Harper to give a number of media interviews which served two purposes. Firstly, he was able to give updates on the forensic finds, and describe the emerging forensic picture. Secondly, he could make a further attempt to dispel some of the wilder stories.
325. The Investigating Officer may wish to do his own research. However, I have viewed a report of an interview dated 31st July 2008 on the B.B.C. website which appears to me to be representative of some of the media work done at the time. In the interview Mr Harper makes is clear that there is no murder enquiry as a result of the investigations at HDLG, and he gives an analysis of the forensic findings up to that date. He then offers the conclusion that there is no basis for a murder enquiry to commence. The B.B.C. website summarises the item as “Jersey murder inquiry ‘unlikely.’ “ The Investigating Officer may wish to contrast the calm, balanced and professional manner in which Mr Harper deals with this subject, with the sensationalist style in which the same news was presented again by Mr Warcup and Mr Gradwell almost four months later on 12th November 2008.
326. The Build-Up to the Events of 12th November 2008.
The publicity which had accompanied Mr Harper’s retirement soon faded away, and I do not recall any significant media reports concerning him in the months which followed. I made media comment on Rectangle from time to time. This would rarely be during an interview concerned entirely with the enquiry. Most commonly it would be tagged-on to the end of an interview about other issues. A large number of media interviews in Jersey are structured this way. My consistent “line” was that the enquiry was progressing in a calm, thorough and professional manner and that I could not comment on matters of detail, as a number of cases were now being considered for prosecution.
327. Mr Gradwell did not start work as the S.I.O. until 8th September 2008 and for reasons I have given earlier I did not have a great deal of contact with him during his settling-in period. I did however have regular contact with David Warcup from the date of his appointment. Occasionally we would talk about the media aspects of Rectangle. I remember there were occasions when I thought that his beliefs about what the force had said during the enquiry were too heavily influenced by some of the media reporting. This was understandable during the phase when he was still familiarising himself with the details of the enquiry. From time to time I emphasised the difference between what the force had said, and what had appeared in the media. He spoke of recent forensic results and how a clearer picture was emerging. He said that on his reading of the forensic results to that time, there was no basis for commencing a murder enquiry. This was consistent with the earlier findings and media interviews of Lenny Harper during July 2008 and the preceding months. It was clear that Mr Warcup was not an admirer of Mr Harper’s style of policing. They were different personalities with different professional backgrounds. I did however point out that Lenny Harper appeared to be no longer active in the media and that we should now concentrate on achieving a seamless transition from the old management arrangements to the new. I made it clear that I would not be party to any deliberate “rubbishing” of Lenny Harper’s work. That would be counter productive. It would re-ignite old issues, and distract from the calm and evolutionary changes which were now taking place. It also had to be remembered that Lenny Harper had a loyal following among victims and witnesses, whose commitment could be undermined by any visible rift. I recognised there would be a need for further changes in the style of the enquiry, and anticipated these would follow the receipt of the report of the review of the investigation, which was being prepared by the Metropolitan Police.
328. In his statement David Warcup refers to “Operation Adrian,” which relates to an investigation into the leak of a police document. This was a report by Mr Harper into aspects of the arrest and release of the Bonners. The report came initially to me, and I forwarded it with a covering letter to the Attorney General. I note from his statement that the contents of Mr Harper’s report featured in an article in the “Times” newspaper on 14th August 2008 and it later appeared on the internet “blog” of Senator Stuart Syvret. I think it is fair to say that from the beginning it was suspected that the leak had come from Lenny Harper. Most people seemed to suspect that he had retained a copy of the report, and leaked it after his retirement. That does not mean these beliefs are true. It was however the case that many people believed it. I thought that it was the most probable explanation, but I had no evidence to support that belief.
329. My attention was drawn to the Times article by means of a phone call from the Attorney General (notebook 08/95 page 78.) I recall that shortly afterwards I discussed the matter with David Warcup. This would have been during one of the frequent discussions on Operational and Professional Standards issues recorded in the subsequent pages of the same notebook. I was very clear that this was something which needed to be independently investigated. I said that he should ask a U.K. force to investigate the matter. I also commented that he should bear in mind that I may have to be interviewed, as the report had crossed my desk on its way to the Law Officers. He said that he did not think that would be necessary. I see from Mr Warcup’s statement that Inspector David Burmingham was asked to make some enquiries within the force relating to the matter. My recollection of this is not precise, but I believe that David Warcup and I agreed that it was necessary to preserve evidence, and prepare an internal audit trail of the preparation and movements of the report. We also needed to know whether anyone else had accessed the report on the relevant I.T. system. I offer this information because it seems to be implied in Mr Warcup’s statement that he was acting on his own initiative in this matter, and I was in some way an absent figure. That was not the case. I remember being particularly strong in my insistence that if Lenny Harper was a suspect for the leak then an enquiry by an outside force was the only way to address the issue. To date, I have not been interviewed about the alleged leak of the by from Lenny Harper, or asked for a statement about when I received it and what I did with it.
330. I see from my notebook that during August and September I conferred from time to time with David Warcup on the progress of the enquiry. It was during this time that our views began to differ. From my perspective he had an inappropriate focus on “picking faults” with the work of his predecessor. I have mentioned earlier in this statement that, unusually for a person of his rank, David Warcup had no experience of moving from one force to another. Virtually his entire working life had been in Northumbria Police. In my own career I have moved force and taken up new positions, several times. In my experience it is normal for a new appointee to want to do things a different way from his or her predecessor. This is quite normal. The skill which is required in these situations is to achieve the necessary changes in a seamless and non-disruptive manner. Rubbishing the work of someone who has retired is a “cheap shot,” and counter productive to the smooth working of an organisation. I tried to encourage Mr Warcup to concentrate on moving matters forward rather than focussing on the past.
331. At some stage during this period David Warcup floated the idea of a press conference to “put the record straight” regarding the enquiry. I definitely saw this as a bad idea. I was aware of nothing significant which had not already been addressed during the final weeks of Lenny Harper’s service. If subsequent forensic results were changing the picture, as it could be expected that they would, then my recommended approach was to gradually feed these into the public domain through a series of short statements and interviews, possibly tagged on to other media issues. We had spent months restoring calm to what had been a difficult situation, much of which had not been of our making. It was not the time to set the whole issue alight all over again. There was another reason I was against David Warcup engaging in the type of press conference he envisaged. I did not think that he had the necessary skills. I thought that he would be comfortable reading a prepared statement, but he would struggle to cope well with challenging questions under pressure. I think the transcript of the actual media briefing shows I was right in that assessment.
332. On 15th October 2008 I had a conversation with the Chief Executive Bill Ogley as an aside to a meeting of the Corporate Management Board. This was after I had been in the U.K. for a few days on police business, and I was still catching-up with developments. I was surprised that he seemed to be better informed than me regarding David Warcup’s intentions in respect of the media, and quite set in his own mind that there should be a press conference at which the police would “admit to mistakes” in respect of the investigation. This was the first indication I had that “something was going on behind my back.” It was clear that Bill Ogley had been engaged in discussions regarding the matter with Mr Warcup, probably during my absence, and that he had a strong line to which he was committed. Following this conversation I sent an email to David Warcup asking to discuss the issue. My notes indicate that this discussion occurred on 2nd and/or 3rd October 2008. (Notebook 08/95 pages 91-92.)
333. I said that I thought the best way forward was for me to take responsibility for the whole matter and to do the job myself. I suggested I do this by way of further questions during planned media interviews on unrelated issues in November 2008. (Statement of David Warcup paragraph 256.) I had no anxieties regarding this. I have no difficulties with the local media and am quite comfortable with live interviews on policing issues. This is normally regarded as one of my strengths. Mr Warcup did not seem to take this suggestion seriously. I said that I would need a brief from him on any new information he wanted me to put into the public domain, but he seemed reluctant to provide this. I was also concerned that in spite of being in the post for over two months he did not seem to have a full grasp of the facts. He still seemed to think that the force had claimed there had been murders at HDLG, and that this was something which needed to be corrected. (Statement of David Warcup paragraph 257.) I encouraged him once more to look at what Lenny Harper had actually said. If he thought that Mr Harper’s statements in July and at other times, making it clear that there would be no murder enquiry, had not taken hold in the public perception, then it would be proper to undertake further media work which “drew attention” to what had been said already. I came to a point where I did not think that I was making any progress in these conversations, and began to think about what would be the best way forward.
334. It was against this background that on 8th October 2008 I met with Mr Matt Tapp who was introduced to me as a media consultant. (Notebook 08/95 page 94). I rarely employ consultants, believing that Chief Officers should be competent in their roles without the need to be supported by expensive advisors. I am aware that others think differently. I met with Mr Tapp at the request of David Warcup. The meeting did not begin well. He said we needed a plan to announce the fact that “the murder investigation had finished.” (Statement of Matt Tapp paragraph 14.) Given that there had never been a murder investigation, and that the decision there was not going to be one had been announced over two months previously, this was not a good start. I was beginning to see his “sales pitch.” He was talking up a crisis, then presenting himself as the person who could resolve it, no doubt for a large fee. I thought about ending the discussion there and then, and with hindsight it is clear that it would have been better if I had. Instead I spent some time trying to improve his understanding of the position. I now see that this was futile. His mind was closed and he did not absorb what I was telling him.
335. I told Mr Tapp that most of the news he was referring to was already out in the public
domain. All that appeared to remain was some adjustment in consequence of recent forensic results, and, in some cases, to draw attention to information which had been released previously but which might not have fully registered. I explained that the police were treading a difficult line in trying to hold together an alliance of opposing factions for the general good of the investigation. We had to maintain a working relationship with the Law Officers and the Jersey Establishment, while at the same time maintaining the confidence of the wider community, many of whom shared a common perception that there was widespread corruption and cover-ups in relation to child abuse and other issues. It was one thing to say the evidence did not support the view that there were murders. It was quite another to say we did not believe that there had been any murders. Beliefs are a personal matter, and it was probable that many people would believe that murders had occurred, but had accepted the assurances from the force that the evidence did not enable the relevant lines of enquiry to be taken further. This delicate balance had to be treated with care if unnecessary tensions were to be avoided. I repeated the course of action I had urged David Warcup to support, which was to release incrementally those things which we needed to release, and where possible decline further comment on the basis that prosecutions were now pending. I agreed that the public had been misled, but pointed out that we had not been responsible, and had in fact done much to put the record straight. Misleading and sensationalist media reports had raised expectations and a great deal of hard work had already been done to restore calm and reality. The situation would not be improved by provoking the resurrection of the “media circus” which had followed the behaviour of politicians, and other events associated with the early forensic work at HDLG. By the end of this conversation I felt that Mr Tapp and I were not going to agree and I wished him a pleasant journey. I see from his subsequent statement that he has not reacted well to my reluctance to engage his services.
336. Over the following days, by various direct and indirect means, it became apparent that David Warcup had built up a broad alliance in favour of the major media conference event which he favoured. This is corroborated by the statement of Matt Tapp, who describes how, following his meeting with me, he networked with, and briefed a number of key figures including the Chief Executive Bill Ogley and the Chief Minister Frank Walker. This was on 8th October 2008. I also became aware indirectly that the Attorney General was committed to the Warcup line. I therefore gave the matter more thought. By then it was approaching mid-October. I had some leave pending in the near future and my last working day was 5th November 2008. This leave had been arranged so that I could attend to some urgent family matters in the U.K. which could not wait. I came to the view that whatever I said or did, my absence on leave would be used as an opportunity to press ahead regardless of my wishes, and that this was a course of action which would be supported by the Attorney General and Ministers. I was also conscious that David Warcup had been appointed to his position on the understanding that he would to take the strategic lead in Rectangle, and that it was intended that he would provide continuity for the enquiry after I had retired. I therefore took a decision. I told David Warcup that I would not stand in the way of the press conference, but wanted a chance to influence the content, in the hope that the damage which I anticipated it would cause could be reduced. This was in the second half of October. David Warcup passed this news to the other relevant parties. (Statement of John Edmonds paragraph 30.)
337. In spite of repeated requests, I was given nothing by way of material for the press conference during the rest of October, or the first four days of November. Considering that Mr Warcup had been determined to stage the event for some weeks, he gave the impression that he had done little preparation. I was eventually given a draft script and other papers on 5th November 2008, literally a few hours before the commencement of my leave. I was concerned with the nature of the content, which appeared to be poorly thought through, confrontational with the media, and too ready to be definite in respect of some evidence which remained ambiguous. Additionally, it did not provide a sufficient line of retreat should further evidence emerge which indicated that there had been murder or similar crimes. In one respect however it was encouraging. It contained a definite statement that “It has never been suggested by the States of Jersey Police that child murder took place at Haut De la Garenne.” This was entirely consistent with the line which Lenny Harper, and myself, had been taking for months. I took this statement as an indication that Mr Warcup had by then achieved a better grasp of the true nature of the media statements made on behalf of the Force. Other encouraging aspects included confirmation that the police were not behind the story regarding the “shackles,” and a reiteration of the earlier police statements to the effect that everything which had been found could have had an innocent explanation. Emphasis was also given to the fact that the media had been given access to the “cellars,” and therefore by implication, nobody had been misled regarding their size and nature. (It is also of note that after the Chief Minister Frank Walker had visited the scene with his wife, and viewed things for himself on 31st March 2008 he was content in addressing the States, to describe the areas he had viewed as “cellars.”) (Statement of Frank Walker paragraphs 19 and 20.)
338. The papers and notes accompanying the draft, which I not unreasonably took to be part of the intended briefing material, also contained references to the fact that the Force received scientific opinion on 7th March 2008 apparently confirming that the first find was a piece of skull and that it was not until 29th March that the first doubts emerged. By that time the item had been ruled out of the enquiry on the basis that the layer in which it had been found pre-dated the parameters of the investigation. The briefing notes indicated that the precise identity of the item remained unknown. A section of the notes dealing with the teeth, made reference to the local expert opinion given at the time that “they were unlikely to have been shed naturally.”
339. In the very limited time available to me I made some hurried notes in the margins of the draft. I discouraged the use of confrontational statements such as “We hope that the presentation of these facts will enable members of the Media to report accurately about this ongoing case in the future.” I also encouraged language which presented a message of an evolving forensic picture, in which earlier statements to the media were being amended as more detailed scientific findings came to light. I passed all of this back to David Warcup and left to make arrangements to travel to the U.K
340. While I was in the U.K. I received one phone call from David Warcup. He reminded me of when the media briefing was taking place, and I said that I was aware of the date. I do not think that we had a great deal of conversation about the subject. At some point I would have asked him if there was anything else of interest as I always do when contacted. He did not tell me of anything other than the media conference. In particular he said nothing of his intention to provide a briefing to Ministers and others the evening before the media conference. This was clearly a matter which affected my interests. At no time was it mentioned to me by David Warcup or anyone else until after it had happened. Even after the passage of time, and the opportunity to reflect on whatever motives may have influenced the actions of Mr Warcup and others, I can only regard the failure to inform the Chief Officer of the Force of the briefing to Ministers on the evening of 11th November 2008 as a deliberate act of deceit.
341. On Tuesday 11th November 2008 at some time not long after 5.30 p.m. I was at home having arrived on the Clipper ferry from the U.K. The fact that I was at home at that time was an unusual thing. The Clipper usually travels from the U.K. to Jersey via Guernsey, and arrives in Jersey after 7.0 p.m. For some reason on this date it sailed directly to Jersey, and so I arrived, home a couple of hours earlier than would be normal. I received a call on my mobile phone from Andrew Lewis, who was then Minister for Home Affairs. He said that he was sorry to be ringing me when I was on the ferry, but he wanted to see me the following morning. I said that I was not on the ferry I was at home. The first time I said this it did not seem to register, and he made another reference to the ferry so I repeated that I was at home. He seemed taken aback by this information. I could not work out why at the time. He had obviously taken some interest in my travel arrangements, but had not spotted the unusual change to the timetable. I wondered why he was apparently unsettled by the fact that I had arrived home early. I realise now that Andrew Lewis had expected I would be at sea when the briefing to Ministers was being held, and the fact that I was at home took away any excuse for me not being asked to attend the briefing to Ministers and others. He asked me to meet him in the office of the Chief Executive at 11 a.m. the following day. He said that this was in consequence of a briefing which he and others had received. This was the first I had been told of any briefing. To complete this part of the account, it is now a matter of record that I attended the office of the Chief Executive as requested and was suspended from duty. This occurred without notice of the purpose of the meeting, without a hearing, and without representation. I now move on to what I know about the media conference, which was held at Police Headquarters, while my suspension meeting was taking place elsewhere.
342. Before leaving home on the morning of 12th November 2008 I watched Sky News. There was extensive advance coverage of the press conference. I now know that this was in consequence of advance information which had been put out by the Force ahead of the scheduled media briefing. The media coverage was high profile, sensationalist, and contrary to almost all of the assurances I had been given by David Warcup. I have since seen the advance media release issued on his direction, it states “Statements which were issued by the States of Jersey Police suggested that serious criminal offences had been perpetrated against children and also that there was a possibility that children may have been murdered, bodies had been disposed of and buried within the home.” This statement is almost the exact opposite of that contained in the draft script I had been shown before I departed for my leave. Equally, it later emerged that the actual release had changed significantly the presentation of information in relation to the cellars, the teeth and the alleged shackles. On the evidence available I can only conclude that I was seriously and deliberately misled by David Warcup as to the intended content and style of the media conference on 12th November 2008.
343. Unsurprisingly the media were enlarging on what was being released by the Force. I heard a reporter on Sky News refer to something along the lines of “previous police claims of mass murder and burial.” As recently as about three weeks ago, I heard a report on Channel News which referred to “previous police claims of mass murder” or words to that effect. As I have discovered more about the press conference on 12th November 2008, the more it is evident, that it was deliberately sensationalist, intended to gain maximum coverage, and designed to portray Mr Warcup and Mr Gradwell as the “good guys” putting right the failings of their predecessors.
344. Before attending the meeting with the Minister I went briefly to my office to deal with correspondence and other routine tasks. I saw that the police main car park was full of satellite vehicles linked to major media organisations. For the rest of the day, and on the days which followed, the story filled the news. Journalists were not likely to admit that they had previously exaggerated the situation, or that they had fabricated stories in order to compete with one another. It was more comfortable for them to claim that they had been misled by the police, and that became their consistent line. I had spent months moving the investigation into a position from which it could progress in a calm and low profile manner. I saw it all undone in a single morning. Jersey was once again world news.
345. In the weeks and months which followed, the delicate coalition of views and interests which had been held together in 2008 began to break apart. Senator Syvret has moved from being a supporter of the enquiry to being an outspoken critic, thereby bringing a negative influence to bear on potential witnesses. There have once more been allegations of “cover ups.” Mr Harper, who had retired to the West of Scotland, and by November 2008 had become inactive with the media, appears to have felt sufficiently provoked to make a number of public statements criticising the integrity of the Jersey system of justice. I have seen at least two articles in “heavyweight” newspapers which imply a lack of impartiality and integrity in the island’s justice system. Political wounds have been re-opened, and the enquiry is once again the subject of angry exchanges in the island’s Parliament. My own suspension has proved to be high profile and divisive. I was told by reliable sources that in the days which followed my suspension a number of victims contacted the enquiry team and expressed concerns that the independence and commitment of the investigation was being undermined. The chances of Jersey convincing the world that these matters have been investigated and resolved in a fair and politically impartial manner have diminished, as have the chances of achieving final closure of these events. It may take Jersey a number of years to recover from the consequences of the media conference of 12th November 2008. As Chief Officer of the Force I accept a degree of responsibility for this. In my defence I point out that I was seriously misled by David Warcup as to the intended content and style of the media briefing on 12th November 2008 and accordingly, could not have anticipated the damaging consequences which would follow.
346. I expect Operation Haven will discover that on some occasions the Police made mistakes. That may be so. The Attorney General William Bailhache, has accepted that lawyers may have made mistakes. It is probably beyond dispute that politicians made mistakes; and it is highly likely that some people in senior positions have failed in their duty to protect vulnerable children. I led the organisation that tried to get to the truth, and tried to achieve closure. Throughout the investigation I was managing against a background of political tensions and controversy, and doing so without the protection of the checks and balances which apply to the political governance of policing in comparable jurisdictions. I am the only person suspended. I am the only person who has been subjected to a disciplinary investigation. I deny that I am guilty of any misconduct of any kind, or of any serious failings in my professional duties. I will continue to defend my reputation and integrity by all legitimate means.
Signed in the Parish of St Helier,
Jersey, on Thursday 30th July 2009.
Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police.