Thursday, 24 June 2010
Ground - Hog Blog.
Last Tuesday 22nd of June 2010 Home Affairs Minster Senator Ian Le Marquand said it was like Ground- Hog day because he was facing more questions surrounding the (illegal?) suspension of our most Senior Police Officer.
This is yet another “unfortunate” action by our Home Affairs Minister. The reason he keeps getting asked questions is because people are looking for the truth and he just won’t give it to them. Not least Graham Power himself, as well as his family deserve some kind of closure after his reputation and career has been wrecked by the likes of Ian Le Marquand and his ilk. To be-grudge answering a few questions once a fortnight after what has been done to Graham Power, and the whole Historic Abuse team prior to the Warcup Era is nothing short of arrogance and total dis-regard for the harm caused to those by this government, including the Abuse Survivors, or that should be ESPECIALLY the Abuse Survivors.
Ian Le Marquand appears to have adopted the name “The Bungling Minister” perhaps because of his regular gaffs. Such as “Ground-Hog Day” as well as putting a photo on all States Members seats of a Coconut lampshade as though it was some kind of scientific evidence! Not to mention the S(c)andal Sketch, and being ripped apart, in my opinion by Dr Timothy Brain during the Suspension Review Hearings I could go on.
One can’t help thinking that he really isn’t that incompetent and that much of a liability to the Powers that be and that maybe he is having flashbacks from the sixties when his glass of milk was spiked with a magic mushroom. Hopefully that is the case and he will soon return to his senses, because this flashback has been going on for quite some time and is costing very highly respected and dedicated professional Policemen nothing but hardship. Not only that - it is costing the tax payer millions on reports that should never have been commissioned in the first place.
Which brings me nicely onto the real subject of this Blog. And whilst I’m at it would like to inform Senator Le Marquand, if he reads this Blog, that there are plenty more “Ground- Hog Blogs” to come and the truth will out!
Operation Haven is the code name for the Wiltshire Investigation into the Historic Child Abuse enquiry under the watch of CPO Graham Power QPM. Haven commenced on Monday 1st December 2008.The terms of reference, we are led to believe, and stand to be corrected, were to compare Chief Officer Graham Power’s performance with ACPO/NPIA guidelines.(Association of Chief Police officers and the National Police Improvement Agency).We are told that Graham Power immediately identified a problem with these terms of reference in that none of the guidelines referred to had ever been adopted by Jersey, and indeed, the local political culture was opposed to the adoption of UK policing guidelines wherever possible. The above guidelines are often referred to as "UK" guidelines, when in fact they are more accurately "English and Welsh" guidelines with some variations in Northern Ireland and no direct application at all in Scotland. Nevertheless the decision was taken by the Home Affairs Minister Ian Le Marquand and Wiltshire to carry on regardless!
The hard information we have in relation to the costs of Operation Rectangle (HDLG Investigation) was given in a written answer to Deputy Bob “The Guvn’r” Hill this week. The total cost of the wilts investigation and the suspension was given as £1,069,776 up to the end of May. There will of course be even more costs since that date and the cost of the investigation of the suspension by Brian Napier QC is not included in that. Curiously the Home Affairs minister declined to give the costs of legal advice and representation by the Law Officers. He said that the law Officers did not bill departments for their work. This is true but he is nevertheless dodging that cost which is likely to be substantial!
Those of us who have read the judicial review hearings will know that ILM applied to the Court for Graham Power to pay the bl--dy Minister’s costs!! The court refused, not on the basis that there were no cost, everyone agreed that there were, but on the basis that the case had resolved issues which were in the public interest (best see the judgement in full for this but it was about the application of human rights law in such cases and the strong comments of the court regarding the conduct of the original suspension invoked by former Home Affairs Minister Andrew Lewis. One might read this between the lines as the court saying that ministers had brought this upon themselves and should therefore pay their own bl--dy bills.)
In early 2009 ILM made a number of statements to the effect that he expected to have the Wilts report around March (March 2009 that is) and was able to narrowly defeat a proposition by Constable Simon Crowcroft to have a quick review before any more money was spent. In March 2009 the Chief Constable of Wiltshire, Brian Moore, wrote to the relevant parties with a revised timetable. He said that the evidence gathering phase should be completed by 31st March 2009 and that the report writing phase would be completed in June 2009. None of these deadlines were met and in subsequent correspondence Mr Moore shifts the deadlines further towards the end of 2009.
At the end of October 2009 Wilts deliver an incomplete draft report. In February 2010 Wilts deliver a supplement to their draft report and state that the report is now complete. By this time the Chief officer has already told the Minister that he is willing to postpone his retirement no longer and come what may will retire in July 2010 when he will be over three years past his official retirement date.
Accounts of the size of the Wilts report vary. It has been said to be over 2 dozen large lever files or alternatively, large enough to fill two filing cabinets. From what we have been told nobody argues that it is a substantial document. And is only the beginning of the disciplinary process.!!! Under the Chief Officers Disciplinary code the wilts report is a "preliminary report." It then has to be read (several weeks work would be needed to do this properly) and legal advice taken. The Deputy Chief Executive to the States (John Richardson) then needs to report to ILM advising him what he should do about it! Unless he wishes to abandon the matter at that stage - then the next step is to call a meeting under the code and discuss whether a disciplinary hearing is needed. If it is - then a hearing has to be arranged with full disclosure of evidence, witnesses, and cross-examination. If the Chief Officer (Graham Power) is not content with the outcome then he can appeal to an independent tribunal chaired by ACAS where the process is repeated. If it is still proposed that he be dismissed then the matter must go for full debate before the States. So far, to the best of our knowledge, no meeting has occurred in relation to the Haven (HDLG) Wiltshire Investigation. It follows therefore that after over one and a half years the disciplinary process, started in November 2008, has barely started let alone finished!!! As the Chief Officer will no longer be subject to the Code when he retires it now looks as if the whole process is about to be abandoned, well there’s a surprise (dismissal be stealth).
However, running alongside all of this is "Haven 2" which relates to the matter which ILM has called "Operation Blast." ILM announced this investigation in the States on 16th June 2009 and said that he would ask Wiltshire Police to conduct enquiries on his behalf. However, for some reason he was slow to act on this commitment, (not trying to drag it out is he?) and the Wiltshire enquiry didn’t even get started until 1st September 2009!! The Chief Constable of Wiltshire said that he would complete the enquiry in "three to four months." In fact his report was delivered to the Minister in May 2010 That is EIGHT MONTHS or twice as long. It is understood that the report has been studied and that the Deputy Chief Executive has prepared a summary but that no further action has been taken under the code, nor is any likely to be given the imminent retirement of Graham Power.
So the way it looks is Graham Power never was going to face any disciplinary action, Wiltshire’s Investigation into the Investigation has taken longer and will be more expensive than the original investigation. Millions of pounds spent, needlessly on Wiltshire, and all for nothing. Well that is, there never was going to be any disciplinary charges brought against Graham Power, but the Wiltshire Investigation enabled the process to be dragged out long enough for Graham Power to retire, so it did serve its purpose!
One may ask why was it necessary to suspend Graham Power a second time over Operation Blast? One may also ask what risk assessment was carried out before asking Wilts Police to conduct another review when it had been so tardy with its first investigation? One may ask what independent advice did ILM take before entering into another costly suspension and investigation based on yet another report from Acting Chief Officer Warcup. Who it can hardly be said is not heavily conflicted. This decision has cost the tax payer over £262,000. Whilst talking about money one should recall that the Acting Chief Officer’s lack of judgement incurred over £200,000 cost in pursuing a pointless internal discipline case after being advised by the Attorney General that there was insufficient evidence to pursue a criminal trial.
Furthermore, one has to ask - Who the bl--dy hell are Wiltshire to sit in judgement of anybody else’s investigation when they themselves have missed so many deadlines, have cost the Jersey tax payer over a million quid just for there to be no disciplinary action brought?
Submitted by VFC.