Pace will be step forward for the force
Saturday 9th August 2003, 12:00AM BST.
THE new Police and Criminal Evidence Law could result in more red tape for officers. Police chief designate George Le Page, 52, welcomed the adoption of the law, which was accepted by the States last Friday. It will clarify officers’ powers with regard to arrests, searches and entry. ‘I’m a firm believer in our accountability and this will make it more transparent,’ he said. ‘We operate under existing UK codes of practice but the imminent introduction of Pace and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Law will make us accountable in law for our actions. At the same time, there’s a resource cost because the law will demand greater record-keeping of decision-making processes and will reduce officer availability.’ Mr Le Page will take over as chief officer on 1 September when his five-year contract officially begins. He said yesterday it was too early to say what his plans for the force would be during his time in charge. ‘As the deputy chief, I was part of the management team and I was part of the policy and strategies in place at the time. ‘I would like to meet the senior management team because policing is dynamic and ever-changing. ‘We need to look at what we are doing, why we are doing it and ask what’s best for the police and, more importantly, the community we serve. Having met them, we will decide which is the best way forward.’ He accepted that complaints about policing had increased. ‘In recent months, it seems that we have had more criticism, regrettably from some ill-informed sources. However, one has to accept that we can’t always get it right but we do our very best.’ He did not want to use an under-strength force as an excuse, but said officers had to prioritise jobs because of a lack of manpower. ‘On occasions, there are matters on which we would wish to spend more time, but sometimes we’re unable to give the service that the public expects. ‘I do believe that our links within the community are still very strong and the service we give is far superior to some areas in the UK. ‘That being said, we are always willing to look at ways of improving.’ He disputed claims that the public had lost some confidence in the force. ‘I would say that the public is more demanding than before and there’s a balance that has to be arrived at where we try to deploy our officers as effectively as possible.’ Mr Le Page said it was essential to have islanders on the police’s side. ‘There’s so much we can achieve with the help of the public. It’s not a battle that we alone can fight.’
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