ICT, communication with the public, and the merger of the Guernsey Border Agency and Police are just some of the areas that need looking at within Bailiwick Law Enforcement, according to a report carried out by a UK Inspectorate.
But despite that room for improvement, the report concluded that the island is "very well served" by both its police force and border agency, and they have a lot to be "proud" of.
Pictured: Chief Officer Patrick Rice and Deputy Mary Lowe.
This all comes as Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services released a report it was commissioned to carry out into Home Affairs and Bailiwick Law Enforcement.
It identified eight recommendations for immediate action, and 26 areas for improvement. But it also found, since Guernsey made the decision to merge its two largest law enforcement bodies under one, unified management structure, the team have "largely met its three objectives".
For example, it found Head of Law Enforcement Chief Officer Patrick Rice had managed to drive out inefficiencies, encourage greater joint working and also increase professionalism.
In total, the report made eight recommendations, which it said should all be deliverable by January 2019. Some of them called for action plans to develop new strategies going forward, while others made suggestions to fix problem areas.
One major area of concern though was that very merger, as the inspectors found it to be an "awkward halfway house", which was neither one body, or two separate entities, which, overall, was limiting the benefits of collaboration.
The first of eight recommendations made in the report.
Each of the eight recommendations made by the inspectors came with emphasis on the fact they believed the solutions could be in place by January 2019. But Home Affairs, the States committee responsible for Law Enforcement, has said it does not believe this will be possible.
A spokesperson for Home said: "The Committee did not receive the final recommendations until October and, while committed to progressing each of them, believes it is unrealistic to suggest all will be complete within the timeframe set." This was also affected, it said, by the fact the current Head of Law Enforcement is retiring at the end of the year, and his replacement, Ruari Hardy, is starting in January.
ICT was another of the major problem points, the report said: "The ICT provision of the Bailiwick of Guernsey was among the worst we have seen. Throughout the inspection, interviewees told us about many problems with their ICT, the collective effect of which is profoundly damaging to BLE's morale, efficiency and effectiveness."
Additionally, although crime has been on a significant downward trend since 2007, alongside police detection rates rising to 50% (higher than in the UK), inspectors said they found the public perception of this situation did not match up with the statistics. Reportedly, members of the public believe crime has spiked in recent times, so the inspectors are now urging Law Enforcement to improve its communication with the public to correct this misconception.
"The inspectors said that Bailiwick Law Enforcement has much to be proud of, and we are. The combined police and border agency senior management team are delighted that the many successes the two organisations have achieved have been recognised," Patrick Rice, the overall Head of Law Enforcement, said.
"While law enforcement, like any large or complex organisation, has areas where improvement is needed – and we have already made a start on those identified in the report - it is heartening to have an independent inspection confirm that the organisation is serving the community well. We have delivered so much in recent years as a result of continually finding more ways for the police and border agency to work closer together, and this work must continue in the years ahead."
Other areas the report touched on was the joint police and border agency intelligence unit, which it praised for facilitating investigations with overseas jurisdictions.
The report also acknowledged there were many plans in place and steps were already being taken to improve some areas. These were in the form of Guernsey Police being given operational responsibility for JESCC, which it said needed better performance management.
Finally, another area of concern was governance arrangements, including the lack of clarity about the respective roles of the Committee for Home Affairs and the Head of Law Enforcement. One of the eight recommendations will seek to clarify this through joint working between both parties.
Pictured: Deputy Mary Lowe, President of Home Affairs.
The President of Home Affairs, Deputy Mary Lowe, said: "The Committee commissioned this review to have an independent assessment of all aspects of law enforcement, which included putting itself within scope for complete openness. We really welcome the findings and feedback from the inspection and are 100% committed to delivering on the recommendations, working in collaboration with the Head of Law Enforcement and his senior team.
"We must be realistic though and I would not want the public to have false expectations in terms of how quickly the recommendations will be met. Some of these are big pieces of work and require careful consideration. The Committee is fully committed to carrying out the recommendations but members are also conscious that we have a new Head of Law Enforcement taking up post in January, who will naturally need to be involved in this work. The community should be assured, however, that we will progress the recommendations as quickly as possible."
Pictured: The report was published today.
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