12 November 2008
I took over political oversight of the Historic Abuse Enquiry in June this year, and immediately sought answers to some of the questions I felt had been unanswered in previous months. I then requested that a review be undertaken into the investigation.
Deputy Chief Officer David Warcup has now completed a thorough review of the investigation to date, with the help of his Senior Investigating Officer and officers from the Metropolitan Police. I have now been made aware of these findings.
It is evident that we didn’t receive all the information about the historic abuse enquiry that we should have received, and that some aspects of this critically important police investigation have not been conducted properly. We are determined to find out why this happened and who was responsible
While we welcome the conclusion of the police that there was no evidence of any murders having taken place, we need to understand, and will establish, why this was not made apparent earlier on in the investigation.
This matter has raised questions as to the role of the Chief Police Officer.
I have invoked the disciplinary code in respect of the Chief of Police and an investigation will be undertaken.
I have suspended the Chief of Police whilst this investigation is undertaken.
My decision to suspend will be referred to the next meeting of the States Assembly as required by the Police Force (Jersey) Law.
In line with the requirements of the Chief of Police disciplinary code I will be making no further comments on this matter until it is concluded.
If there are further questions from the media, my response will be that it is inappropriate to comment at this time.
But the historic abuse enquiry continues.
And today, as Home Affairs Minister with overarching political responsibility for the States of Jersey Police, I am confident that the investigation is being conducted with the proper command and control. There is a clear separation of responsibility, with a Senior Investigating Officer in charge of day-to-day operations and the Deputy Chief Officer taking overall strategic control of the enquiry. The two people in these positions have excellent credentials and the right experience and skills to do the job, and have commissioned an independent review to ensure they are following best practice.
I am pleased to hear from the police that they have a good working relationship with the Crown Officers, and that they are satisfied the proper arrangements are in place.
Lawyers do work with investigators on serious and complex enquiries and the States of Jersey Police have confirmed that their relationship with the legal team is a positive one. I am saddened, though, to hear that the earlier decision to exclude lawyers from working with investigators has resulted in delays to the investigative process.
I am advised that there are currently three prosecutions pending. It is obvious that, as politicians, we should say nothing which impacts on the trial process which is to come.
Accordingly, our priority remains, as it has always been, to see a thorough, professional police investigation into the abuse allegations. We know this will be followed, where there are prosecutions, by an impartial judicial process.
It remains the case that anyone who has relevant evidence to give in that investigation should give it promptly to the police.
Deputy Andrew Lewis
Home Affairs Minister