Words of advice for COVID-19 legislation breaches (FOI)
Words of advice for COVID-19 legislation breaches (FOI)Produced by the Freedom of Information office
Authored by Government of Jersey and published on 10 August 2021.
Prepared internally, no external costs.
I refer to a previous Freedom of Information (FOI) response regarding Covid-19 prosecutions, published on 1 July 2021 at the following link:
Prosecutions under the Covid-19 legislation (FOI)
This response included a table “Covid Offences and Outcomes” which identified the number of times that “Words of Advice” rather than Prosecution or "No Further Action" were dispensed for minor offences, failing to wear a mask for example, where a warning or words of advice was given.
This table included entries for the month by month totals where “Words of Advice” were given. A total of 10 times that Words of Advice were given from April 2020 to January 2021.
On 21 January 2021 a press conference was held by the Government of Jersey where the Minister for Health and Social Services proudly announced in response to a question from the JEP asking about the measures being taken to ensure that visitors adhere to the isolation requirements: “As of 19 January (2021) the police have given 1,888 Words of Advice for possible or potential breaches of covid legislation”
I wish to discover the true number of times that Words of Advice were issued. If it were 1,888 that, to me, indicates that there was widespread non-compliance whereas just 10 would suggest the complete opposite. Please will you therefore identify:
The source(s) of the 1,888 figure proclaimed by the Minister
A breakdown of the 1,888 figure month by month
The source(s) of the numbers used in the response to the FOI.
A to C
The figures used in the Ministers’ statement were provided by the States of Jersey Police. The attached graphic is obtained by searching for ‘Covid WOA’ for the period specified: 17 February 2020 to 5 January 2021 on police systems.
Words of advice graph
Why the discrepancy:
The previous Freedom of Information response mentioned above requested details of the outcomes of those cases that were prosecuted. Cases that went to Parish Hall and were dealt with by ‘Words of advice’ totalled 10 as shown in the response.
This data is held on the police crime database, Viewpoint.
Figures provided to the Minister (1,888) include all the interactions between the police and the public where the officer believes a warning is sufficient to deal with the incident / circumstances. Police officers have discretion to warn somebody about their behaviour and give words of advice for minor breaches of legislation. No formal crime is recorded, following the Home Office crime recording guidelines, and no prosecution follows.
The figures given are accurate in both cases.