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Police: "We will use our powers carefully"

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Friday 03 April 2020

Police: "We will use our powers carefully"


The Chief of the States of Jersey Police has written an open letter to all islanders, sharing how the force will be supporting the island through the health crisis.

According to Robin Smith, "engage" and "explain" will be central to the Police's approach in dealing with rule-breakers throughout lockdown.

However, he warns that they won't hesitate to act in the cases of "those who persistently refuse to abide by the rules, and in doing so risk the lives of others"...

Dear Islanders,

A lot has happened in the three months I have been Chief Officer that few would have sensibly predicted.

In the last two to three weeks we have been coming to terms with an unprecedented level of restrictions that have interrupted our way of life and altered our routines and behaviours - we are all getting used to a 'new normality' where we are all asked to make individual sacrifices and changes to the way we live so that we can save lives.

The Government has been faced with making a number of 'wicked decisions' which no one would want to have to make. The level of partnership cooperation and speed of delivery transcends anything I have experienced throughout my police service. Working closely with officials, I have been granted powers that in any other circumstances no chief would want to have, but in my judgement, are vital if we are to carry out our primary duty of protecting lives, and we will use them.

We have a long and proud history of policing by consent. It is a concept established almost 200 years ago and is why we have one of the most transparent, fair and accountable police forces in the world. As your Chief Officer, this will not change, and I wanted to be clear how the States Police will continue to operate during these challenging times:

We will engage, explain the circumstances and encourage people to do the right thing in complying with the new restrictions.  If considered necessary, we will take enforcement action if people are not listening and putting others at risk.
Officers will apply their discretion and will ask questions to establish individual circumstances.
Maintaining the best service to the public, protecting officers and staff, and supporting the Island response are our top priorities.

Of course, my officers and staff and their families will not be immune to Coronavirus but we have robust contingency plans which we continue to test and keep under constant review to ensure that we are prepared to deal with issues arising from the impact of any pandemic situation.

We are working closer than ever with our Honorary Police colleagues, and together we will strive to deliver our core policing duties. And whilst our services may not always be as readily available as we might ordinarily expect, you can be confident the policemen and women, and those that support us, will always do their very best for Islanders. I am enormously proud of the way they have instinctively responded to this crisis and the messages of support from the public – together with the public we are a formidable team that will see us through.

So, we will do our duty. We will use our powers carefully for those who persistently refuse to abide by the rules, and in doing so risk the lives of others. And whilst so much has changed, you will see us patrolling our streets, and neighbourhoods, responding to calls, protecting the vulnerable and fighting crime. To ensure that we can continue to do so we politely ask that you contact us only when you really need us.

We're in this together and the States of Jersey Police won't let you down,

Robin Smith
Chief Officer

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Posted by William Boyd on
Saw two PCs with guns in holsters yesterday in St Helier outside the Arts Centre. I am at a loss as to why guns are required to police the empty streets of St Helier. I emailed Police HQ and was told this "is normal". NO IT MOST CERTAINLY IS NOT.
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