Friday, 29 June 2012
Interview with Former Chief Police Officer Graham Power QPM.
For the benefit of our new, and growing, readership and as a reminder to our long-term followers, we thought it would be beneficial to re-submit an interview we conducted with Jersey's Former Chief Police Officer, Graham Power QPM, back in February 2011 and was posted HERE
The interview is possibly the most in-depth and informative interview the Former Chief Officer has ever given and makes for extremely uncomfortable reading. Regular readers will be aware that Mr. Power was (we believe "illegally") suspended in November 2008 for reasons that still aren't clear to this day.
We recently had the opportunity to discover some truth (or lies) concerning his controversial suspension with a proposition lodged by Deputy MIKE HIGGINS but as predicted the majority of our government voted to keep it all A SECRET
For those who are unaware, while nobody knew (including himself) why Mr. Power was suspended the Wiltshire Constabulary were brought in to investigate the former Police Chief, or "get something to stick" as it has been described. Mr. Power's Police Force were investigating decades of institutional Child Abuse in Jersey's State run Institutions at the time of his (illegal?) Suspension. A summary of which can be viewed HERE although for those with a sensitive disposition discretion is strongly advised.
There has recently been talk of Jersey becoming independent from the UK. This has come from one politician, Senator Philip Bailhache, who is our Former Bailiff and certainly does not speak for the majority of Jersey people as far as we are aware. Independence from the UK is one of the scariest scenario's there are. It was the former Police Chief himself who said; "And if, reader, you consider this all very amusing and distant from your own concerns, then remember what has been said by many from the very beginning of this saga. If they can do this to a Chief Police Officer and get away with it...............think what they could do to you. Then it might not be so funny."
A growing number of Jersey folk are living in hope that the UK still might step in and restore good governance and the Rule Of Law over here. What they did to the Former Police Chief, and others, certainly is not funny it is truly frightening and independence from to UK could only ensure this sought of behaviour/conduct will carry on un-checked, and if at all possible, will get even worse.
What you are (hopefully) about to read is alarming and an account of Jersey government in action which is nothing short of shambolic and possibly criminal. It is an insight, in the words of Graham Power QPM, on how the - much hailed - Wiltshire Investigation was carried out. The former Police Chief also gives us an in-depth look into how our government “co-ordinate” a disciplinary hearing against our most senior Police Officer. The very sticky situation our government found themselves in when they discovered that if they wanted to discipline the Chief Police Officer, then 800 years of tradition “The Jersey Way” would be lost.
This is an in-depth interview with Mr. Power who sees the value in history recording the truth, because as things stand it looks like there is a much distorted record of history being created, much of it being rubbed out, or erased, particularly by our State Media. Bloggers are the only truly independent media Jersey has.
The much hailed Wiltshire Report was “a failure” not only a failure but a ONE MILLION POUND (Taxpayer Funded) Failure. Mr. Power says in part of this interview “Nobody with their name on the failed Wiltshire enquiry should have the nerve to criticise anyone else’s conduct of any enquiry ever.”
Q. Can you tell us when you first heard of the plan to involve Wiltshire Police in relation to any disciplinary investigations into your handling and management of “Operation Rectangle” (HDLG Child Abuse Investigation)?
A. On the 2nd December 2008. The Chief Executive to the Council of Ministers, Bill Ogley, wrote to me and told me that he had appointed Brian Moore, Chief Constable of Wiltshire, to carry out a disciplinary investigation on his behalf. Terms of reference were enclosed with the letter. The disciplinary investigation was given the name “Operation Haven.” It was later renamed “Haven 1” when the matter which the Minister for Home Affairs, Ian Le Marquand, called “Operation Blast” was named “Haven 2.” But more of that later.
Q. Could you outline the sequence of events that followed - your perspective on the quality of the Wiltshire Investigation(s) and the conduct of those involved, including the Jersey authorities?
A. 11th December 2008. Brian Moore wrote to me to introduce himself (that by the way was the only introduction we ever had. He never met me once. Not even to say hello) . In his letter he said that the enquiry would take "a number of months."
In the weeks/months which follow there are some routine exchanges of correspondence and various documents are provided by both sides.
5th March 2009. Moore wrote to my representative (Dr Timothy Brain, Chairman of the Chief Police Officers Staff Association) seeking to clarify some procedural points regarding the enquiry. He gave a new timetable. He said that he proposed to complete "the major phase of evidence gathering" by31st March 2009 and that he proposed to interview me around late April/early May 2009. He expected to complete the report writing phase by June 2009. It appears that similar assurances were being given to the Minister for Home Affairs. On the basis of these assurances various dates for completion were given in the States. For example in early 2009 members were led to expect completion by March of that year. Later dates were given at later times.
11th May 2009. Moore wrote to me and proposed that I be interviewed at a suitably neutral venue, possibly a Jersey hotel, in the week commencing 15th June 2009. He said that the interview should last for “at least a week." As the law currently stands suspects in murder cases and similar crimes may, with the authority of a Court, be interviewed for around three days. I know of no precedent for a disciplinary interview lasting for “at least a week.”
19th May 2009 and thereafter. My Professional Association attempted to move matters forward in correspondence with the Minister for Home Affairs. It is pointed out that the Minister and Wiltshire Police are benefiting from legal advice at public expense. It is suggested that an interview lasting for a week or more is potentially oppressive but that I will nevertheless consider taking part provided that I am given equality of arms by means of funded legal representation. Meanwhile we obtain an estimate for the services of an Advocate during the proposed interview. The round figure given is £30k. It is also pointed out that the Disciplinary Code places me under no obligation to attend an interview. It refers to me providing a written statement. That is all that I am obliged to do. Anything more than that would be a concession on my part, but one that I am nevertheless willing to make, provided that the arrangements are fair to both sides.
Q. So you are denied “equality of arms” and all legal advice obtained by Wiltshire and the States of Jersey is funded by the Jersey Tax payer?
A. In a word “yes”
29th May 2009. A civil servant wrote on behalf of the Minister telling me that I will not be provided with legal representation during the proposed interview. My Association took legal advice from a Jersey Advocate. The legal advice told me that the proposals to conduct and interview lasting for at least a week were oppressive and that I should not attend without legal representation. I am advised that I am under no obligation to attend and that I am within my rights to state that I will provide a written statement instead of attending for interview. I decide to accept the advice.
The decision of the Minister not to provide legal representation has disrupted the proposed timetable. The parties are still corresponding on the matter beyond 15th June 2009 when the proposed interviews should have started. In all honesty I had not really expected Ministers to agree to me being represented on the grounds of fairness. They had shown no fairness up to that point and I did not expect them to change their approach. I did however think that they might have allowed representation in order that the interview could take place as planned and that matters could move forward. It was however becoming apparent that moving matters forward was not part of their agenda.
23rd June 2009. I concluded that discussions about the proposed interview and legal representation have come to a "dead end" and I formally notified Brian Moore that, acting on legal advice, I will provide a written statement. Wiltshire then provided me with a list of issues which I am asked to cover.
I commence work on my statement as soon as I have the necessary documents from Wilts. My statement is detailed and over 62,000 words. It is completed and submitted on 30th July 2009. My statement is a comprehensive inside account of the whole affair and makes reference to a large amount of information which has so far not entered the public domain. So far as I am aware it has been seen by only a handful of people and has never been published.
Running alongside this is the matter which the Minister for Home Affairs has referred to as "Operation Blast, which was said to concern alleged files kept in relation to some States Members. The Minister announced in the States on 16th June 2009 that he was commencing a disciplinary enquiry relating to the issue, but appears not to have discussed the matter with Wiltshire. On 19th June 2009 Brian Moore wrote to me and told me that he has received no request to investigate "Blast." It is not until two months later on the 14th August 2009 that Moore wrote to tell me that he has been appointed to investigate "Blast" and that he expects to commence the investigation on 30th September 2009.Whatever was the intention of the Ministers announcement on 16th June 2009, its practical effect, and the delay in commencing an investigation, threw away all hope of an early end to the Wiltshire enquiry. It was by then certain that the matter would drag into 2010 when I was due to retire anyway.
14th August 2009. Moore notified me of a changed timescale for his "Haven 1" report (relating to the abuse enquiry). (“Blast" has been named "Haven 2") He said that the report will be completed by30th September 2009.
18th September 2009. Moore further revised the date to 19th October 2009.
20th October 2009. Moore wrote to say that he has delivered part of his report to the Deputy Chief Executive (John Richardson) He said that he has not completed work on financial oversight of the abuse enquiry and that a report on that will follow. I am aware that the Disciplinary Code requires the Chief Executive to send me a copy of the report. I decide to wait and see what happens next.
Q. I’m a little lost here, how many different completion dates has Brian Moore given you up to now?
A. We began with a commitment from Moore to have the enquiry completed in the early part of 2009. It is clear that the Minister for Home Affairs, Ian Le Marquand, was told something similar, because he informed the States and some States Members that he hoped to have matters concluded by aroundMarch 2009. Thereafter deadlines slipped with regularity. I have given some of the key examples of letters which formally notified me of yet another proposed completion date, but in between these there were various informal assurances given to other parties none of which came to anything. In any event, by mid 2009 it was becoming clear that the investigation was running out of control and that any credibility in terms of timescale and costs was gradually being lost. In some ways it was entertaining to watch the chaos unfold. At another level it was less entertaining. Amongst all of the confusion I was attempting to do two contradictory things at the same time. On the one hand I was working with my defence team to prepare to defend against any disciplinary action that was brought. On the other hand I was attempting to prepare for my pending retirement and for life after policing. Had it not been for my suspension and the disciplinary investigation it is probable that I would have retired earlier than I eventually did. I could not work out why the Minister for Home Affairs was spending public money on a disciplinary process which, at the very most, would only entitle him to tell me to retire, when I was going to retire anyway. I did not understand it then and I am not sure that I understand it now.
Q. let’s say the Home Affairs Minister, rather than suspending you, suggested (as you were already 2 years past your retirement date) that you took retirement, is that something you would have considered?
A. You are right to point out that I was at the time two years past my official retirement date and was working on an extended contract in order to provide continuity until a new Senior Management team was in place. Before I was suspended in November 2008 I was already thinking of retirement. My intention was to meet with the new Minister for Home Affairs in early 2009 and to discuss my future. Had the suspension not intervened it is probable that my retirement would have been announced some time in early 2009. However, once the suspension was imposed, I decided to stay on and fight the allegations, which I did until time ran out and it became clear that the whole thing was destined to die of old age. It is one of the many ironies of the situation that the suspension, which presumably somebody thought would hasten my departure, actually kept me in post for well over a year after I would have otherwise retired. And remember, even if the whole disciplinary process had ground on for a further two years and my case had finally been through the entire procedure ending with a hearing in the States, the only sanction available to the Minister and to the States appeared to be to instruct me to retire. Something that I had been willing to do years earlier. That is how illogical the whole thing was. But to finally answer your question, no offer of retirement was ever put to me so I did not have to consider that way of concluding the situation. Had an offer been made I would have taken professional and legal advice and would have acted in accordance with that advice. I do not know what the advice would have been so I cannot give a certain answer to that question.
Q. Do you feel that ultimate responsibility for financial oversight should have been laid at your door, if not yours, then who’s?
A. I have dealt with this at some length in my statement to Wiltshire. The short story is that when I took office in 2000 I had a number of financial staff working in the Force reporting to me, and I had control of the Force budget. Gradually, all of the qualified financial staff were removed by Ministers, and responsibility for the budget moved to the Chief Officer for Home Affairs who was made the “Accounting Officer” under the Finance Law. This left me with limited information about financial issues and no qualified staff to give advice. Whenever there was a query I had to ask Home Affairs staff to deal with it. During the abuse enquiry I made sure that Home Affairs financial personnel had access to all financial information and I met regularly with them and checked for any concerns they might have had. The minutes of those meetings show that they had none. That was the best I could do. I am a policeman, not an accountant. I asked the Accountants to keep an eye on things and they told me that everything was fine. It is hard to see what else I could have done. If there is any argument about this then it might be resolved by taking a look at the Finance Law. The Law says thatthe person responsible is the nominated Accounting Officer. I was not the Accounting Officer for the Force, although if Ministers had heeded my advice on the matter then I would have been. But that is another story. The fact is that Ministers insisted that another Chief Officer be given responsibility for the Police budget. It is they who should be accountable for the consequences of that decision.
21st December 2009. I received a letter and the incomplete Wilts report delivered to my home. The letter revealed that at the time when the report and recommendations were written, Wendy Kinnard, who was Minister for Home Affairs during the relevant part of the enquiry, had not been interviewedand so her evidence was not included. However, the letter stated that she had since been interviewed and that the conclusions in the report are unchanged, although the report has yet to be amended to cover Wendy Kinnard’s evidence and the sections dealing with financial management are not yet available. This is an unprofessional and shambolic way of providing a key report. It seems to me that the documents delivered to me on 21st December 2009 had two purposes. The first was to try and disrupt the family Xmas. The second was to allow the Minister and Wilts to claim that they had delivered a report “in 2009." I was unimpressed by either and stated that I would react to a full and complete report when I got one. I was also aware that no action was possible on the basis of the Wilts report. The Disciplinary Code only allows the Minister to act on the basis of a report from the Chief Executive (or in this case the deputy Chief Executive who was acting in that role for the purposes of this enquiry.) This report from the Chief Executive is referred to in the Code as the "Preliminary Report" which then has to be discussed at a meeting between the parties. I therefore wait for a Preliminary Report to be provided.
Q. So that’s a year gone by relatively un-productive how did things develop in 2010?
A. 13th January 2010. Wilts wrote and asked if I was willing to be interviewed regarding "Haven 2" (“Blast.”) I replied stating that I would take the same position as before. If I am provided with legal advice in the same way that they have been provided with legal advice then I will be interviewed. If I am not afforded equality of arms and set on a level playing field then I will fall back on my right to make a written statement. My Professional Association corresponded with the Minister for Home Affairs and Wiltshire in relation to the proposed interview and whether representation will be provided. These exchanges carried on throughout January and into the second half of February when it became clear that I would not be provided with representation. I therefore took advice and as a result of the advice I received I state that I will not attend for interview but will provide a full written statement once I am given the information necessary for me to do so. On 22nd February 2010 I receive a letter from Wiltshire with the necessary enclosures and I begin writing my statement. Once again the refusal of the Minister to provide fair and equal representation has introduced further delay into the process.
20th January 2010. In the midst of the above exchanges I give formal notice of what everyone knows already. Namely that come what may I will retire in 2010 and that I intend to be retired before the end of July. Now everyone who understands the procedure knows that there is no prospect of the disciplinary process being finished. I know it, my Association knows it, Wiltshire know it, and you can bet that the Minister knows it. It may have been the right moment for the Minister to call it a day and halt any further expenditure. Instead he decided to press ahead regardless, irrespective of the fact that no final outcome was possible.
11th February 2010. The Deputy Chief Executive wrote to me with a copy of the Financial Management section of the Wilts report. He said that he is now in a position to prepare his "Preliminary Report."
Surreally..............and running alongside this increasingly irrelevant bureaucratic saga, I am in separate correspondence with the Human Resources section of the Chief Ministers Department. We are dealing with things such as my removal expenses, pension, calculation of my outstanding leave and the setting of my "last working day." This is calculated as 15th June 2010. This will become significant later. In all of this correspondence I see no evidence that the Chief Ministers Department and the Home Affairs Department are aware of what the other are doing or the apparent conflict between their respective positions.
However, at this point it may be fair and appropriate to record that much of the correspondence I received (and I have several files of correspondence) I found to be fair, professional and courteous. This was particularly the case in my dealings with some of the staff of the Chief Ministers Department. Some correspondence sent on behalf of the Minister for Home Affairs was confrontational and aggressive, but I would not wish this to detract from the general professionalism of most of those who work in the Jersey public sector.
February 2010...After a debate in the States the Napier review of my suspension commences. Brian Napier QC will subsequently publish a report which confirms that my original suspension was unfair, not justified by the evidence, and apparently contrary to legal advice. However, his report is not published until after I have retired and does not influence events in 2010, as the disciplinary investigation limps towards its inconclusive end.
10th March 2010. My statement in relation to “Haven 2” (Operation Blast) is completed and submitted. It contains over 13,000 words. The statement was collected by Wilts from the family home which my wife had established in North Yorkshire. I answered the door and handed over the statement in person. I have already notified the relevant States Departments of my new contact details. I have said that I will travel to Jersey if asked to return to work as Chief Officer or to take part in any legitimate activity connected with the disciplinary process. Otherwise I will be engaged working in consultation with my UK based defence team. I was not asked to return to duty and accordingly I continued to work in the UK and monitor developments. In spite of the fact that I am working my notice, my retirement is approaching and I am by then based in the UK, Ministers do not appear to grasp the reality of the situation. They continue to press ahead with a procedure whichthey know cannot be completed.
Given that my Haven 2 statement contains references to sensitive intelligence material I suggest that it be treated as "Secret." How Moore deals with this alongside the need to report to Jersey Ministers and Civil Servants is a problem for him. I draw his attention to the fact that the statement contains sensitive intelligence from UK agencies who have given no permission for it to be shared with the Jersey Authorities. I do not know how he handled that issue. I was never told.
26th March 2010. The Chief Ministers Department wrote to me offering me a pay rise. I decided to accept and informed them accordingly.
Q. A pay rise? You are being investigated for just about anything that they could make stick and they give you more money……..after they’ve suspended you?
A. The terms of my contract entitled me to a salary review on a periodic basis and the terms of my suspension, confirmed in the Royal Court, entitled me to the full benefit of all of my contractual entitlements when suspended. So I got a pay rise. I did not mind as I thought that I had earned it. Remember that the suspension was not my idea. I wanted to be back working all hours 7 days a week and was ready to return to work at 24 hours notice. It was the Ministers idea that I should be paid for doing nothing. If it was a stupid arrangement then it was his stupid arrangement. Not mine.
19th April 2010. I received a letter from John Richardson with the long awaited "preliminary report" for “Haven 1” (the abuse investigation) and an invitation to a disciplinary meeting with the Minister. BUT...all of the paperwork related only to "Haven 1." There was no mention of "Haven 2" (Operation “Blast”). I replied on 23rd April 2010. I pointed out that things have now been strung out to a point where it is impossible for me to return to work and that I have therefore been effectively dismissed without a hearing. I also ask what is happening about "Haven 2" ... has it been abandoned or what??.....If I am to attend a meeting I am entitled to a fair chance to prepare and to take advice. I am also entitled to be represented, and my representative (Dr Timothy Brain, of the Chief Police Officers Staff Association) also needs to prepare and clear his diary. So what is happening about "Haven 2" and where is the preliminary report that we are both entitled to regarding the "Haven 2" enquiry??
18th May 2010, almost a month later. I received a reply from John Richardson. He denies that I have been constructively dismissed and asks about dates when my representative will be available for me to meet with the Minister.....But he ignores Haven 2 completely.
26th May 2010. Two things happen. I receive a copy of the Wilts report relating to "Blast." Or “Haven 2” as it is now known. Assuming that the Minister received it at around the same time as me this appears to indicate that he has been attempting to arrange a disciplinary meeting prior to receipt of the investigation report. This would be a material breach of the Disciplinary Code. I write back to John Richardson again, asking him to clarify just what is on the agenda of the meeting he is proposing. Is "Blast" up for discussion or not? If it is I stand by my right not to attend a meeting until I have the preliminary report of the Chief Executive to the Minister. That is what the Code says and I stand by it. We are also entitled to some basics such as an agenda for the meeting, an indication of its duration, who will speak and in what order and so on. I might not have a lawyer but I understand my rights and I intend to have them respected.
1st June 2010. I have heard nothing from John Richardson but I write to him drawing his attention to the fact that my "last working day" is approaching and asking him to set in motion the relevant administrative procedures for the necessary paperwork to be signed off. I receive the required administrative documents but nothing relevant to the disciplinary enquiry.
15th June 2010. My "last working day" as determined by the Chief Ministers Department comes and goes. Nothing of any consequence happens.
23rd June 2010. A courier delivered a letter from John Richardson and his "Preliminary Report" in relation to "Haven 2" to the family home in England. The letter says that the Minister wants to move to the next stage of the process which is to meet with me and discuss the enclosed report. I am on holiday. The correspondence was signed for by another person at the house. My Professional Association learned of the delivery and wrote to the Minister pointing out that my last working day as set by the Chief Ministers Department was the week before and that I have retired. It is too late now to talk of disciplinary meetings. The police disciplinary code does not apply to civilians. Time has run out and there can be no disciplinary action. It is over.
Q. So just how did they manage to get themselves into this mess??
A. This is almost worth a book in its own right. Firstly,in November 2008 the new Minister for Home Affairs, Ian Le Marquand, inherited a messed-up suspension and should have put his energy into getting out of the mess rather than digging himself in deeper. The old saying about "holes and digging" applies well here. When wise folk find themselves in a hole they stop digging. Fools send for a bigger spade. Secondly, he was far too "hands off." He might have thought that he was still a Magistrate where he just sat and waited for the evidence to be brought to him. He did not attempt to manage the situation. He also committed most of the sins of which he liked to accuse others. There was nothing like a "gold group"...no apparent attempt was made to coordinate the disparate activities of the law officers, States HR, the Chief Ministers Department, the Force, Home Affairs, the Treasurers Department and Wilts. They all pressed ahead with their own agenda often working in contradiction with each other. Nobody got a grip of the big picture. No effective deadlines were set and nobody to this day appears to have accepted responsibility for financial management of the Wiltshire enquiry. At times they appeared to be like a herd of cats chasing each other tails. And nobody seemed to grasp the implications of the passage of time or did proper calculations of the work that remained to be done and the time available to do it in. Had they done so they would have realised that the game was over by the second half of 2009. As it was they pressed ahead and spent well over a million pounds on an enquiry which had no prospect of coming to a final conclusion.
Q. As a fellow professional, how do you Rate Brian Moore and his investigation(s)
A. Moore was an "absentee investigator" if there ever was one. He never met with me and he even planned to have the disciplinary interviews conducted by subordinates. He did not get the basics right at the beginning. He accepted terms of reference which invited him to assess my conduct against the rules which apply in England and Wales (which were incorrectly described as the "UK.")At an early stage I pointed out that these rules did not even apply to Scotland, let alone Jersey, and that I had a clear political mandate to disregard any UK guidelines which were not consistent with local practice. I also drew attention to the fact that the political mandate not to apply UK guidelines in Jersey had been re-enforced by the advice of the Attorney General of the time (now the Deputy Bailiff William Bailhache) who would be called as a defence witness should the matter ever come to a hearing. But Moore carried on regardless without ever resolving that contradiction. In the end he could only do his report and ask an English Lawyer what disciplinary offences would apply to an English Chief operating under English rules. He then said that it was up to the Jersey authorities to decide whether to apply the same reasoning locally. This was an awkward problem for the Jersey Authorities. If they decided that English Guidelines did not apply in Jersey then the whole case collapsed. However, if they decided that English guidelines did apply then those guidelines would then become the “bible” for policing the Island and 800 years of policing tradition would go out of the window. This dilemma presented quite a problem. In the end Ministers dealt with this in the time honored way. They put off making a decision until it was too late anyway. That is after all “the Jersey Way”. What a waste. An enquiry built on sand. No matter how much work is done, if the foundations are not sound then the whole thing falls over. Having accepted wide ranging terms of reference Moore compounded his error by authorizing "fishing expeditions" which involved trawling through every email I had sent and every document I had created. Interviews were conducted with people I worked with 20 years ago, asking them to remember something, anything, that could stick. By any standard this was foolish, wasteful, but also contemptible. A more professional approach would have involved a tight “ring fenced” enquiry focusing on specific relevant issues and bound by clear timescales and budgets. This was never done, and in consequence the investigation took on a life of its own, perpetuating one line of enquiry after another until the original purpose became lost in the mass of data. He also failed to get a grip of the timescales and the spending behavior of his own staff whose apparent determination to leave no expense unclaimed provided a welcome boost to the local hotel and hospitality industry, but did nothing for law enforcement. Perhaps he could not believe his luck that so much Jersey money was being siphoned off into his Force accounts. In all probability he will have made good use of it for the benefit of the citizens of Wiltshire. The benefit to the citizens of Jersey is less apparent. I expect that he will have his excuses but the result speaks for itself. Over £1m and nearly two years spent on an enquiry with no result. And he was the Investigating Officer. Not “overseeing” the enquiry, not the person with executive responsibility, he was the named person in charge. Nobody with their name on the failed Wiltshire enquiry should have the nerve to criticise anyone else’s conduct of any enquiry ever. They have forfeited their right to criticise anyone else. They have allowed themselves to be drawn into a political vendetta, they have wasted over a million pounds, and they have produced a flawed report when they knew it was too late to do anything with it.
Q. Every penny that was spent on “Operation Rectangle” has been scrutinized with a fine tooth comb, ironically by the Wiltshire Constabulary. Do you think there would be value in investigating how Wiltshire managed to rack up an estimated bill of in excess of a million pounds?
A. It could be argued that there are many aspects of the Wiltshire investigation which would merit an enquiry in their own right. However, I am conscious of the fact that the Wiltshire enquiry was in itself an “investigation into an investigation.” I am not sure that I want to suggest that the Jersey taxpayer foots the bill for an “investigation into an investigation into an investigation.” That might be an investigation too far. I have however suggested in a letter to Brian Moore that his investigation could be used as a case study in the training given to senior officers on the conduct of relating to disciplinary investigations. I believe that the Wiltshire enquiry provides good examples of the pitfalls that can befall a disciplinary enquiry when insufficient attention is given to terms of reference, timescales and costs. So far he has not responded to this suggestion.
Q. During all this, suspension, Wiltshire Investigation and so on, you have remained relatively in the background when it comes to the media spotlight, was this a conscious decision on your part?
A.I have decided not to be personally pro-active in this matter, but at the same time, to be ready to respond to any legitimate enquiries. That remains the case. I have answered your questions because you have taken the trouble to ask them. If they had been asked by another part of the media I would have done the same. But nobody else asked.
Q. There are a number of theories as to why the local “accredited” media have not been asking questions. They range from “it’s not newsworthy” to “they are complicit in covering up the truth with our government.” Have you a theory as to why none of the other local media have asked, searching, and in-depth questions on this subject and reported them?
A. The lack of any serious investigative journalism in the Island was drawn to my attention by an experienced media professional ten years ago, when I was appointed, and others have spoken of it since. That said, I know a number of Jersey media people and many are committed and professional, although they rarely seem to have the time or resources to investigate a story in detail. I prefer not to speculate regarding motives. I just observe, as others have done, that it is rare for the actions of government to be challenged in any depth.
Q. You have told us that you have written, in total 75,000 words in your defence to the Wiltshire allegations. Do you believe those words will ever be published by our Home Affairs Minister and why, in your opinion do you believe they have not been published so far?
A. Whatever anyone may think of the abuse investigation and the events which followed, most observers would agree that the account given by the Chief Officer of the time is an important part of the historical record. So far I have kept these documents confidential and have shared them only with a few trusted individuals for safekeeping. In the way of the world it is inevitable that they will enter the public domain at some time. Both of my statements give a detailed and accurate account of events which is in sharp contrast to the “false history” which Ministers and their allies have attempted to construct. There is a strong argument that it is now in the public interest that all sides of the story should be made available for historians and other interested parties. The Jersey Authorities could of course take the initiative and release these documents now, although by doing so they would expose some of the myths which Ministers have sought to perpetuate about the abuse enquiry. This may of course be the reason why they have not been released so far. I have decided to leave the matter to them for the time being, but I continue to keep the issue under review.
Q. Are you saying that if the Jersey authorities don’t publish your defence statements then you will?
A. I have no plans to publish them at this time but I intend to ensure that at the very least they are available for legitimate historical research. I am sure that they will enter the public domain at some time in the future but I cannot say when.
Q. What do you believe were the intentions of Wilts and their Report?
A. Whatever the intentions of Wiltshire Police, the practical effect of their activity has been to support the actions of those in Jersey who have used public funds to undermine the confidence of abuse victims and witnesses, and to persecute those who strived to bring abusers to justice. They should be ashamed of their involvement in this sordid affair and some of the sordid individuals behind it. After nearly two years and well over a million pounds of investigation I retired without facing a single disciplinary charge. All allegations against me were abandoned. I stand exonerated and remain proud of the part I played in breaking down the culture of abuse which existed almost unchallenged in the Island for decades. I remain grateful as ever for the past and continuing messages of encouragement and support I receive from Islanders, all of whom have my thanks and best wishes.
Q. Do you believe, that culture of abuse that existed could exist again in Jersey?
A. In speaking of a culture of abuse I have in mind not only the major Historic Abuse Enquiry but a number of other enquiries and allegations of abuse which have surfaced in recent years. It is impossible for a rational person to look back at the history of this subject and not conclude that for decades there was a culture in which some people in positions of authority used their position to abuse vulnerable young people, and believed that they could get away with it, either because of who they were or who they knew. I believe that a lot of good work has been done to break down that culture. With continuing determination it can be further broken down and should not return, but vigilance is needed. Denial will not help. The first step in curing a problem of this nature is to admit that it existed. When that is freely and openly admitted by those in authority, an important line will have been crossed. That will not bring justice to the many people who suffered over the years, but it might bring some assurance that the future may be better than the past. (End)
For the sake of history Mr. Power’s side of the story needs to be documented. We hope this interview goes some way in doing that, while we eagerly await his 75,000 word rebuttal of the Wiltshire allegations. The Home Affairs Minister Senator Ian Le Marquand has had those words for quite some time…….About time they were published Senator, don’t you think?
Since this posting was first published BBC Jersey has been furnished with a copy of Mr. Power's defence statement to Wiltshire. They were given this approximately ten months ago. Neither the BBC nor the Home Affairs Minister have published it............