Scrutiny raises concerns over justice and home affairs service delivery
25th October 2021
The Children, Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel (CEHA), has raised concerns over the impact of planned efficiencies on the delivery of services, following its quarterly public hearing with the Minister for Home Affairs, Deputy Gregory Guida.
As well as Deputy Guida, the Panel heard from the Assistant Minister for Home Affairs, Deputy Lindsay Ash, the Acting Director General, Kate Briden and the Island's Chief of Police, Robin Smith.
During the hearing, the Panel were informed that:
- £836,000 in efficiencies for the police force will not lead to fewer frontline police officers. However, it will lead to an increase in their responsibilities, which could impact the support they can provide for the public
- In the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard, the Chief of Police confirmed that there is a robust vetting procedure in place for new officers, and that he remains "vigilant"
- The Minister admitted that both the police force and ambulance service are "stretched to the bone"
- £315,000 of planned efficiencies to the prison service will leave its budget on 1 January 2022, despite no clear plan for how this figure will be achieved
- Due to staffing shortage, the prison will confine some prisoners to their cells one evening a week for the next few months
- There is a lack of clarity in the role of Justice and Home Affairs department in the intensive support scheme offered to young people are risk of offending
Deputy Robert Ward, Chair of the Children, Education and Home Affairs Scrutiny Panel, commented: "We recognise that all Government departments are being asked to find efficiencies in their budget.
"However, we remain concerned about the knock-on effect on staff morale, and on service delivery. With some prisoners likely to be confined to their cells one night a week for the foreseeable future, and States of Jersey Police Officers taking on responsibilities from support staff, the Government must strike the right balance between efficiencies and a robust service."
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