NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
The Department of Home Affairs has responded to our various queries sent to them in early June.
The Department’s response is set out below and as indicated we were unable to include the detailed tabular breakdown (we had to convert from pdf to word format) but overall totals of staff are given in our note.
Helpfully the Department has set out our questions with the response below each:
“Dear Mr Moffatt
Re. Consultation on the Police (Amendment) Bill 2015
Thank you for your letter submitted via e-mail on 3rd June 2015. As the officer responsible for this consultation I have been asked to respond to your query directed to the Chief Executive of the Department.
Please find below the information or response requested in relation to your queries.
1) What is the number of police officers at present and what was the figure ten years ago (a breakdown by rank would be helpful).
a. Copies of the Chief Constable’s Annual Reports are available from the Tynwald Library and, for the more recent reports, on the Department’s website. In respect of your question, please see the table below.”
[Celtic League note:
Unfortunately I cannot reproduce the table here but the information supplied was very detailed. In bald terms overall police numbers all ranks had reduced from (248) 248 in 2005 to (210) 201 in 2015. The figure in brackets is the establishment the other figure actual.
The figure for other staff was:
Special Constable: In 2015 the number was 35 – for 2005 the figure was ‘not available’
Support Staff: In 2015 the number was (52) 48 – for 2005 there was no figure but it was said to be ‘broadly similar’.
Community Volunteer: In 2015 the number was 28 – the figure for 2005 was ‘not available’]
2) What is the number of civilian support, clerical staff etc directly attached the Police at present and what was the number ten years ago.
a. Please see the table above. The exact figures for support staff in 2005 are not easily accessible, but will have been broadly similar to the current figure. Figures in relation to other personnel are similarly hard to access as far back as 2005.
3) I note the Ministers comment: “Firstly, the financial climate is such that we must determine which services are essential and which are not, and can therefore be dispensed with. Secondly, if the consensus is that certain functions of the Constabulary are essential, could they be performed in a different manner or by other people?” Given this statement does the DHA currently have any idea of what police ‘services’ it wishes to see ‘dispensed with’ (in relation to this latter point for the benefit of those responding to the consultation an Appendix setting out current police functions in their entirety would have been helpful).
a. The consultation document simply invites the views of the public (questions 1 and 2). Section 3(1) of the Police Act 1993 places the direction and control of the police force in the hands of the Chief Constable, and it is considered that the views of the public, expressed both through this consultation and in other ways at various times may assist him in this matter.
b. Your comments in relation to providing details of police functions are noted.
4) Further to question 3: The employment of additional civilians in what were previously police posts raises the question of what the ‘core functions’ of the police would be i.e. what are the tasks that can only be performed by police officers? Has the DHA determined a priority list of such core functions?
a. This is an operational matter for the Chief Constable to determine in accordance with his obligations under the Police Act 1993 and the Annual Policing Plan agreed with the Department. Under section 4(1) of that Act, Annual Policing Plans are laid before Tynwald.
5) Given that in the United Kingdom the HMIC has taken a key role in monitoring and assessing the consequences of the roll-out of civilianisation in that countries police forces has the HMIC on any of its (invited) inspections of the Manx Force expressed a view on civilianisation?
a. The Department is not aware of HMIC expressing any view on this matter in the Isle of Man.
6) Has the DHA sought a view from the HMIC about the impact (positive/negative) on police functions of civilianisation?
7) Given that part of the preamble to the Bill sets out possible new powers for the Chief Constable to ‘self-refer ‘ disciplinary matters has discussion taken place with the Police Federation about the proposed change?
a. Issues relating to discipline, performance and complaints (including the proposal in relation to the “self-referral” of complaints) have been discussed in regular meetings between the Department, the Police and the Police Federation.
8) In relation to 7 above has the DHA or the Chief Constable considered the implications from a human rights point of view of a ‘self-refer’ situation that resulted in disciplinary action against a police officer? In such an instance would it be human rights compliant for the Chief Constable to determine a penalty over an action he had in effect initiated?
a. The proposals follow similar provision in England and Wales and the Bill has been drafted in order to provide for human rights compliance.
b. “self-referral”, or the opening of a conduct or performance investigation, does not imply an outcome has been pre-judged. Any criminal investigation, arising from
a complaint or conduct matter, would remain a matter for the Attorney General’s Chambers to prosecute in Court.
9) In relation to the ‘appointment of incumbent Chief Constables’. Has the DHA experienced problems in the past over this i.e. are/were there any circumstances in which the extension of a Chief Constables period of Office is questionable?
a. Previous appointments/re-appointments have not been brought into question. What has been received is a current appreciation or interpretation of the law. In the light of that it is considered prudent to amend the law in order to clarify the Department’s powers in the light of that fresh understanding.
10) Given the necessarily sensitive and confidential nature of police work does the DHA envisage that any civilianised tasks will be undertaken by direct labour or would it be the intention to franchise specific tasks to private sector operators?
a. As stated in the consultation document, clause 4 of the Bill provides that the Department may enter into a contract with a person or organisation for the provision of services,specified in an Order, in connection with the police.
a. Given that to do the consultation justice the background we have sought above is necessary.
b. Given that there is quite comprehensive, but necessarily time consuming evidence, on police civilianisation data available particularly from the UK .
c. Given that research may be needed on the powers of Chief Constables to self-refer (via reference to other jurisdictions).
Does the DHA believe that the window for consultation is sufficient i.e. are you seeking meaningful input or paying lip service to consultation?
a. As the Bill is very short, and the issues are clear and straightforward, the standard consultation period of six weeks under the Isle of Man Government Code of Practice on Consultations is considered to be more than adequate. The Department considers the consultation document and the impact Assessment contain sufficient information to enable persons to form an ‘in principle’ view on the proposals.
Upon receipt of such views the Department may then gauge whether or not there is support for the matters proposed within the Bill, and act accordingly. Nevertheless, if a particular consultee desires to respond to the consultation, but wishes to have more time in which to do so, such a request would, of course, be considered.
The Celtic League thank the Department (and in particular Mr Bateman) for the detailed nature of the response.
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)
ISSUED BY THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE.
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