Monday, 28 May 2012

Two for One

On 31st January 1995 the States agreed that the Defence Committee of the day should commission a "full and thorough review of the policing system in Jersey including the powers to combat crime and the protection afforded by the Law to the individual citizen together with the level of service." An independent body was appointed headed by the late Sir Cecil Clothier and 18 months later on 25th July 1996 the "Report of the Independent Review Body on the Police Services in Jersey" was published.

There were a number of recommendations one of which was to establish a Police Authority. On 19th May 1998 the States agreed to establish one in line with the Clothier recommendation. Although steps were taken, for a number of reasons/excuses an Authority was not established.

In 2010 Senator Breckon lodged a proposition asking that the States request the Home Affairs Minister to bring forward a proposition to establish a Police Authority. As it happens Senator Breckon was kicking against an open door because the Minister, Senator Le Marquand was supportive. It should be recalled that it was deemed by some, that the absence of a Police Authority led to the unsavoury suspension of the former Police Chief Graham Power.

To his credit Senator Le Marquand recruited a small group of States Members to assist in drafting a proposition which included amending the Police Law. I was a member of that group but was not a States Member when the proposition was lodged. There was consultation with the Honorary Police who formed the view that they did not want to be part of the proposed Police Authority, even though it had been agreed 12 years previously.

The Honorary Police’s response was disappointing, blinkered and to a degree selfish. They are supposed to serve the best interests of the Island not their own interests. Crime is no longer parochial, criminals are mobile and the public are entitled to a policing system which matches the 21st and not the 19th Century.

The purpose of a Police Authority is to produce annual policing plans to suit the Island's needs and therefore should involve the States and 12 Parish Police Forces. We are assured that there is a good working relationship between the States and Honorary Police so it is surprising that the opportunity to cement that relationship under the Police Authority umbrella was not taken.  

The Senator was faced with a dilemma, that of going down the Clothier road or acquiesce to the Honorary Police. The Senator went for the compromise approach, possibly in the belief that the Honorary Police will become part of the Police Authority in the future. However the States is supposed to govern, what if the States Police did not wish to be part of the Police Authority would their stance have been supported?

The late Sir Cecil Clothier was a deep and astute thinker and it worth being reminded what he had to say about the Honorary Police and its resistance to change.

"This valuable resource should be nurtured and developed rather than cut down. But unless the institution known as the Honorary Police is cared for, it will in our view without doubt die slowly but surely of neglect and failure to adapt. Those who would like to bring about the abolition of the Honorary Police have only to ensure that nothing is done. It is paradoxical to record that the very few of our witnesses who wanted the institution of the Honorary Police to remain substantially as it now is, are unwitting architects of its demise."


Yesterday morning I rode my bike to St Martin to purchase my Sunday paper and noted that there must have been in the region of 30 cars circulated around the 7 vergee/3 acre field next to the school. The School PTA was organising a Car Boot Sale which was very well attended.

It was pleasing to see such a turn out but I wonder how many people were giving consideration to the prospect of loosing the field. No decision has yet been made so I am grateful to David Richardson and to the JEP for publishing his letter below, which draws attention to the folly of building on the field when the option of redeveloping the school on site is the cheaper and logical option.

The Threat of the Loss of Playing Fields to Development.

The proposals to build on two games fields in Jersey (Les Quennevais & St Martin) are testament to the way Jersey is falling prey to unabated immigration and becoming overpopulated at an alarming rate. Already this population influx is translating itself into increased pressure on our public amenities such as schools.

The knee jerk reaction of seeking to build on existing games fields is profoundly unwise.  Bob Hill is correct in his outspoken concerns. This rape of our land is as serious as a transgression of human rights. These games fields have been used by our children for the last hundred or so years for recreation, for football games and sporting events as well as community gatherings.

We should not repeat the mistakes of our neighbours in the UK where they have converted games pitches to development. 

 In Jersey we should value every square inch (cm2) of land for nature or agriculture and stop swallowing up these areas for further school buildings.  If we really need to build more school space, then let it be upwards so as to avoid this needless waste.  We could easily renovate the existing schools and keep these games areas for perpetuity. The loss of further green fields is as abhorrent and as invasive as building in the middle of a game reserve.   Sport is hugely valued in Jersey as an essential part of our quality of life.
Those of us who still have our wits about us must stand up to the suburban sprawl now before we lose yet more areas to development especially our school playing fields.

As a species we are becoming increasingly aware that keeping fit is important to our health, morale and even therefore our longevity and wisdom. So if we convert these games pitches to development, we are being both short sighted and stupid.

Yours truly
David R.T Richardson

A sobering thought, particularly in an Olympic year

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge

This being Jubilee year a number of events are being organised to celebrate the Queen's 60 year reign. No doubt many will be in line with the events that were organised to celebrate the Silver and Golden Jubilees, However there is one very special and different event being organised because Diamond Jubilee's are rare and to celebrate the occasion The Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge is being organised under the patronage of Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge. Its aim is to protect 2012 outdoor recreational spaces in communities all across the UK as a permanent legacy to the Diamond Jubilee.

The following is a message from Prince William."" The main website can be found by clicking onto

As Prince William states, it is apparent that thousands of playing fields throughout the UK have been lost to Developers. Unfortunately Jersey has not been spared. On 16th March and 10th April I published Blogs drawing attention to the potential loss of the St Martin School's playing field which has, not only served generations of St Martinais but residents Island wide.

If the field is lost the Parish Football Club will have to find another ground for its three teams and being a Parish team it's home pitch should be in St Martin. Finding a field will be a tall order as all the fields in the Parish are in the Green Zone including the school field where there is a presumption against development. The problem is that the former Planning Minister who was responsible for approving many of the carbuncles around the Island apparently gave consent for the rebuild as opposed to redevelopment without going through the consultation process.

There is more disturbing news to come because it is now appears that St Martin's may not be the only school to lose its field. It was reported in last Friday's JEP that proposals are afoot to replace the current Les Quennevais School which was only opened in June 1966 and build its replacement on its playing field. Goodness knows why they cannot be redeveloped on site?

The one bit of good news for St Martin is that the present Planning Minister has seen fit to consult with the Community and he is still sifting through the responses and as yet has not decided on the Field's future.

One can see, the Diamond Jubilee Fields Challenge is so important to us all. A Committee has apparently been formed in Jersey with the Bailiff as Chairman. I have written to the Bailiff asking that the St Martin's field be considered for the Challenge. The JEP has also published a third letter of mine in which I hope will draw the publics attention to the Fields Challenge.

The published letter is as follows.

Dear Sir,
"Readers will have read my two previous letters published in the JEP in which I have questioned the Education Minister’s proposed plans to build a new school on the St Martin’s School Field rather than adopt the less expensive option of redeveloping the existing building. Apart from saving Tax Payer’s money, the existing field will remain intact for future generations.

Fortunately the Planning Minister has made the proposed plans subject to public consultation and no decision has yet been made.

Readers will be aware that 2012 is Diamond Jubilee year and there are a number of Projects/Trusts being advanced to celebrate her Majesty’s 60 year reign. One such Project/Trust is the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge which is the Trust’s flagship programme, headed by its Patron, The Duke of Cambridge. Its aim is to protect 2012 outdoor recreational spaces in communities all across the UK as a permanent living legacy of this landmark occasion.

Throughout the UK committees have been appointed to have oversight of the Fields’ Challenge, to raise awareness of the Trust’s aims and to encourage members of the public to nominate and vote for an open space in their area to become part of the scheme and be permanently protected as a tribute to the Diamond Jubilee.

Readers will be pleased to learn that a committee has been formed in Jersey headed by the Bailiff and its membership includes the Chief Minister along with other States Members. I consider that St Martin’s School Field is an ideal open space to be permanently protected and indeed it would be fitting that as a tribute to her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee that consideration be given to naming the field as the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Field.

Being mindful of the Committee’s remit, readers may be interested to know that I have written to the Bailiff asking that St Martin’s School Field be considered in the hope that the field is permanently protected as a tribute to the Diamond Jubilee."


I have received a number of calls from people who are appalled at the prospect of  St Martin's losing its field, but it is action that would be more appreciated and I ask readers to write to the Planning and Education Ministers, pledging your support for the retention of the school field.

These Ministers are the key to the solution,  Deputy Duhamel is the Planning Minister who is also responsible for the environment. He has to weigh up the loss of a green field which is also a valued and longstanding recreational area in the Green Zone where there is a presumption against development, or redeveloping the existing school in line with other schools which have already been redeveloped.

Deputy Ryan who apart from being the Education Minister is also responsible for the Island's Sport and Culture. He also has a duty to the sportsmen, women and children to retain existing recreational areas. What alternative sporting facilities has he in mind to replace the St Martin Field? I know the Education Department must reduce its spending, by redeveloping the school will not only mean a financial saving but the field will also be saved for future generations.

The Minister's Email details are as follows;

 The Planning Minister  The Education Minister