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States will have chance to question Home Affairs

States will have chance to question Home Affairs

Thursday 29 November 2018

States will have chance to question Home Affairs

Thursday 29 November 2018


The States will have the opportunity to debate the recent highly critical report of the island's Home Affairs Committee.

Home Affairs has decided to go back on their original plan to not put the report - carried out by Her Majesty's Inspectorate for Constabularies - to the States chamber, as it has come under increasing levels of scrutiny.

In a statement to the States this morning, Home Affairs President Deputy Mary Lowe also reiterated the committee's stance on the report, whereby they have said they will investigate all of the eight recommendations made, but still don't agree with everything contained in the document.

Chris green Mary Lowe law enforcement report

The HMICFRS report was commissioned by Home Affairs, and was the first deep look into the committee and law enforcement for 10 years. Deputy Chris Green, inset right, will be leading a scrutiny hearing next week into its findings.

Deputy Lowe added they will be bringing the report for debate to demonstrate its "openness and transparency" in light of criticism over their governance. 

"Furthermore, the Committee itself will be lodging a proposition to enable the States to debate it should they so wish.  The Committee are doing this to further demonstrate its commitment to openness and transparency, having already published the HMIC report at the start of this month, provided media briefings, held a presentation open to all States Members, and singled its support for answering questions and providing relevant information at the public Scrutiny hearing next week," she said.

“In the meantime the Committee is keeping its focus on implementing the various recommendations and helping ensure that what is a good and effective Law Enforcement service can be even better.”

The move is one supported by a number of States members: 

The main area of concern the inspectors had was over Bailiwick Law Enforcement's IT, which was one of the "worst systems they had seen". Deputy Lowe said they had already taken swift action to begin to remedy this, with a response plan already in place.

That plan consisted of 21 different projects, all already underway.

"We recognise that one of the most damming statements relates to the standard and quality of the I.T. which the report's authors describe as being 'among the worst we have seen'. This is serious," Deputy Lowe said.

"Currently there are 21 projects underway covering areas such as the network connectivity, accreditation, TETRA and replacement of desktop PCs; indeed officers and contractors are in the Police HQ today working on some of these projects."

Screenshot_2018-11-28_at_10.49.42.png

Pictured: Some of the eight recommendations the report made. 

The Report itself to be the subject of a snap Scrutiny hearing next week, where Deputy Lowe will face questions on the nature of her committee. 

"Considerable work is going on to address the Report's findings.

"We recognise that it advises that during the course of the review some of those interviewed expressed views and opinions which do not fully accord with the facts as the Committee sees them and as such we as Members are looking to see if there is underlying evidence to support what has been said by some. That does not however change the fact that we accept fully the Recommendations and Areas for Improvement."

You can read more about the report here.

Meanwhile, Deputy Lowe has also responded to an anonymous letter sent to deputies by a former civil servant criticising Home Affairs. 

She has refuted a number of claims made in that letter. 

“We live in a democracy where no one is ever forced to attend a Committee meeting against their will.  Where officers have been asked to attend it is generally because they have a detailed knowledge of a service or subject matter and are therefore best placed to advise and guide the politicians. These officers are usually fully accountable for the delivery of services under their management so it is wholly understandable why a Committee with an interest in the effectiveness of the service might wish to hear from them direct.

“It is fair to say that sometimes the officer may not appreciate fielding questions over the quality or performance of the service for which they are responsible but that is part and parcel of management, no matter how uncomfortable it may feel.”

Pictured top: Deputy Mary Lowe.  

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