FIFTEEN official complaints were made about police officers in Jersey last year, according to a new report.
Two of the complaints – listed in the Jersey Police Complaints Authority annual review 2022 – related to excessive use of force, with one being deemed ‘unsubstantiated’ and the other being carried forward for resolution this year.
A further nine complaints alleged an ‘abuse of authority’, although only one was substantiated. One was resolved informally, three were unsubstantiated and four were carried forward into 2023.
And four complaints related to matters including the use of a Taser.
As well as the complaints, there were two ‘death or serious injury referrals’, which are made when an individual dies or is seriously injured after recently having had contact with the police.
Fourteen of the 17 cases related to the conduct of States police officers, while three involved honorary officers.
The JPCA oversees, monitors and supervises investigations carried out by the States police’s Professional Standards Department.
In March last year, the States approved a new law to transform the JPCA into the Jersey Police Complaints Commission, in a move designed to further strengthen the oversight of officers and give the entity greater powers. However, the proposed regulations of the law have not yet been submitted to the Assembly for approval.
In its summary, the JPCA said it was ‘pleased to report the number of complaints received by the police and those referred to the JPCA continue at relatively low levels, when compared over the longer term’.
It added: ‘The SOJP and honorary police officers provide a professional service to the public of Jersey and standards are generally very high.
‘When officers and the organisation fall short of these standards, it is important to have a system that can quickly establish what has gone wrong, while ensuring there is appropriate accountability.
‘Learning outcomes arising from complaints that are taken up by the SOJP Learning the Lessons Forum provides an important emphasis to a culture which is more open, reflective of mistakes and with a greater emphasis on learning, development and improvement while maintaining and ensuring accountability.’
It continued: ‘An important addition to the new law will enable the Jersey Police Complaints Commission to make recommendations to the SOJP and honorary police regarding improvements to best practice and policing policy arising from an investigation.
‘The new law also makes provision for the JPCC to request information and report generally on outcomes and whether the police are implementing the JPCC’s recommendations. The JPCA welcomes these changes and the facility to audit whether its recommendations have been implemented.’