Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Unhappy Anniversary



On Armistice Day 2008 – 11th November – Mr Graham Power, the Chief of the States of Jersey Police, a very senior, highly qualified and decorated, uniformed officer with 42 years in the service of Her Majesty the Queen was on holiday at home when he received a phone call from the then Deputy Andrew Lewis the Minister for Home Affairs.
The phone call from the very recently appointed Minister was to invite Mr Power to attend a meeting the following day (12th) along with Mr Bill Ogley (CEO of the Council of Ministers),the Head of Human Resources and Police Officer David Warcup.

Warcup had in August 2008, with the authority of Graham Power, commissioned the Metropolitan Police to review “Operation Rectangle” aka the historic abuse inquiry and an interim report by the Met was prepared for the 10th November and handed to Warcup on that day and to the Minister on the 11th.

On the evening of 11th November Police Officers Warcup and Gradwell had briefed the Council of Ministers about the interim report and a proposed Press Conference to be held the following day (12th) which would rubbish much of the “Operation Rectangle” investigations carried out under Deputy Chief Police Officer Lennie Harper’s supervision.

At the brief meeting, (for which Bill Ogley famously destroyed his hand written notes) commencing at 11am on the 12th Minister Lewis produced a letter which quoted from the interim report and advised Mr Power that he was to be immediately suspended from duty claiming that “this is a precautionary suspension only and does not imply that any conclusions have been reached about your alleged role in the management of the historic abuse inquiry at this stage.”

However, as is now known - following Mr Power’s successful Complaints Board Hearing against Chief Minister Terry Le Sueur for the release of information - the decision to suspend Mr Power was clearly made on or before Saturday 8th November because that was when the suspension notice was prepared.

In other words, the DECISION to suspend Mr Power was made BEFORE the Met interim report was published.

Yet, the reasons offered in support of Mr Power’s suspension on the 12th November were wholly related to his alleged failings with regard to the management of “Operation Rectangle”.

This blatant contradiction is just one small piece in this strange jigsaw.

Mr Power has subsequently had judgment against him in the Jersey Royal Court re his Judicial Review of his suspension and he represented himself.
The current Minister for Home Affairs, Senator Ian Le Marquand now says that he reviews the suspension every month - but it is not clear if the original reasons for the suspension are now valid or if some other complaints have been raised .
It seems that Mr Power does not know why he is suspended and the tax - paying public certainly have no idea.

Everything about this year old case is something of a mystery and lives are being damaged and reputations destroyed.

There is no cause for celebration in this anniversary and we do wonder whether ex Deputy Andrew Lewis will be the one chosen as the sacrificial offering when our government finally seeks to close this particular file.

Below is an interview with Deputy Bob Hill who tries to make some sense of all this.

13 comments:

  1. Uk Employment Law - This situation would NEVER be tolerated in the UK, especially by a Government Department. The States of Jersey have failed at every step relating to the suspension of the Chief Officer.

    Perhaps people could take some time out to read UK Employment Law.

    The Chief Officers Human Rights have been seriously abused.

    In the same way the suspension of John Day is also a disgrace.

    It truly reflects a Government who are not fit for purpose.

    There is a code of conduct relating to suspensions, whether that relates to the Island of Jersey I am not too sure, if it does not I would seriously consider both of these men and others who may also be suspended and have not been legally told of the reasons why to take this to the European Court.

    It would seem to me that whoever advised the Suspension of either of these men and others that may be in a similar position should himself be held accountable. Not only for the waste of public money but also for failing to address their Human Rights.

    Well done Deputy Hill for an honest and decent interview, it would seem too few of the members of the Jersey Government have the interest of their consitutents in their heart.

    Why are ACAS not involved and advising the Jersey Government about employment law?

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  2. Surely the Ministerial Decision(s) to suspend Graham Power must be public document(s) and would clarify exactly when and why the decision(s) were made?
    Presumably all this happened when Frank Walker was Chief Minister - will he be likely to carry the can rather than the hapless Lewis?

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  3. An absolute DISGRACE!

    My heart goes out to Mr Power and his wife, likewise Mr Day.

    Be ashamed Jersey.

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  4. Re; "Ministerial decisions"

    We asked for copies of the Ministerial Decisions at the judicial Greffe but were told that these were witheld by the Home Affairs Dept.

    We checked with Minster Ian Le Marquand who confirmed that normally such decisions were public documents but that there are exceptional circumstances - such as staff contracts/suspensions/current legal actions etc - when these must be withheld to protect both sides.

    Things might be different if Jersey had a proper Freedom of Information law rather than a useless Code!.

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  5. Well it is all down to this letter from David Warcup, the findings of Gradwell and perhaps Operation Blast. Whatever the charges are, generally they are strictly confidential so as not to jeopardise any future disciplinary. So none of us really the truth on this one, so again, another premature judgement on a blog. If he was clean then Le Marquand would have had him put back by now.

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  6. The Met team responsible for thiss report interviewed me on the 17th November 2008, I challenged them about this so called interim report and they denied it existed. Gradwell and Warcup were not quoting from any report of theirs they said. The former head of the Met Homicide Team who was in the ACPO Review group also challenged them and received the same answer. I emailed them two days later and demanded that before they did complete any report they interview witnesses who would contradict the alleged events described by Warcup and Gradwell. They repied saying they would be in touch. I still have that e mail. I never heard from them but I know the report was delivered in December 2008. The nonsense of an interim report is complete fabrication.
    Lenny Harper

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  7. Dear VFC

    Yet another video showing up the local media who completely ignored this landmark date.

    Thank heavens for Bob Hill, Stuart Syvret and their like to keep the eye on the ball.

    Interesting point Bob made about criminals accused of a crime and their right to a trial. To my mind (and I guess many others) the difference is that Graham is not a criminal, he has done nothing wrong, but finds himself in a situation where he is accused of who knows what, without any right of redress. This like Stuart's case is Kafkaesque in the extreme.

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  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  9. Ref my post a few minutes ago. My finger ran ahead of my brain. The point I was making was that neither myself, as senior investigating officer, or the Head of the ACPO Homicide Team who were reviewing my investigation had been yet interviewed by the Met when Gradwell and Warcup started quoting from the alleged report which was the basis for suspending Graham Power. A week after the suspension when they did get around to interviewing us they denied any such interim report existed to both of us. Of course, the Met team could have been lying but that does pose some questions about the credibility of a report which has been compiled without the views of the SIO and the head of the team quality controlling his investigation. If the Met are telling the truth then the whole reason for Graham Power's suspension was a massive lie.
    Lenny Harper

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  10. MEDIA RELEASE

    THE CHIEF OFFICER OF THE STATES OF JERSEY POLICE HAS NOW BEEN SUSPENDED FROM DUTY FOR ONE YEAR.

    Mr Graham Power QPM, Chief Officer of the States of Jersey Police was suspended from duty on 12th November 2008 by the former Minister for Home Affairs, Deputy Andrew Lewis.

    It was originally claimed that the suspension was a result of a report relating to the Historic Abuse Enquiry which was prepared on 10th November and received by the Minister for Home Affairs on 11th November 2008. After almost a year of applications under the Code of Practice on Access to Information, the Chief Officer successfully secured a ruling that the Chief Minister should release details of when the suspension notice and related documents were actually created. This has revealed that the suspension notice was prepared on the morning of Saturday 8th November 2008 and therefore could not have been a consequence of the report received on 11th as has been claimed. To date Ministers have given no other reason for the suspension. It is not known whether it is in fact related to the Historic Abuse Enquiry or is for some other reason which has not been disclosed.

    The fact that Ministers and others may have provided misleading information is currently subject to a complaint to the Privileges and Procedures Committee, the outcome of which is awaited.

    Whatever the true reasons for the suspension, the following does not appear to be in dispute:
    • The suspension is now a year old.
    • No disciplinary charges have been brought.
    • No hearing has been arranged.
    • Costs to date are estimated to exceed half a million pounds and rising.

    The Chief Officer is due to retire in 2010.

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  11. Lenny in my humble of opinion I strongly feel that it was part of the contract!!!!!!!!

    Things happened 'too quickly' I think it was part of the agenda that the abuse enquiry was rubbished.

    I cannot believe that any Senior Police Officers would be treated so badly, so incompetently, there would be questions in the House of Commons if this happened on mainland UK.

    Was this a 'set up'?

    Only a fair enquiry, by an unbiased police authority would get the answers.

    Roll on December!!!

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  12. Our frank interview with Constable Crowcroft re; Graham Power suspension

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  13. A commenter appears to think that Team Voice should be publishing completely unsubstantiated serious allegations against Chief Officer Power made by the commenter.

    Furthermore the commenter claims to have listened to the State this morning and has managed to come up with some fantasy of what was really said, or wasn't.

    The comment ended with the line "but you won't publish any of this because you know its the truth".

    Well you got that half right. That is to we won't publish it. The reasons we won't publish it is because the allegations made against Chief Officer Power were not substantiated. The commenters version of what went on in the States this morning was not what we heard and I believe the whole comment was a trolling exercise of which Team Voice operates a zero tolerance to.

    The only reason the commenter has had a response this time is so it can be explained to HIM that the only reason Team Voice and their Blogs exist is to publish truth, not to cover it up. If you wish your comments to be published then you must substantiate your allegations and stick to the TRUTH.

    If you believe in any way our Blogs are misleading then you always have the opportunity of starting up your own Blog.

    Let us get one thing extremely clear. Team Voice are supporters of Chief Officer Graham Power and his family. We don't pretend to be impartial (unlike the "accredited" media).
    Although we are not obligated to publish any comments that disagree with what we publish we do publish them in order to get reasoned debate.

    So stick to the truth, substantiate your allegations, don't be insulting to the Blog author and your comment should get published.

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