The present acting chief, David Warcup, has decided that he does not want the job and the criticism which goes with it. His predecessor, Graham Power, left with an otherwise formidable reputation tainted by the fiasco of the Haut de la Garenne investigation.
There is, however, more to the present challenge of leading the Island’s force. The new man at the helm, who, it seems, will be City of London Police Commissioner Mike Bowron, will have to address issues of morale and confidence as he gets to grips with making sure that this community is policed as it should be.
If credentials are a guide to future performance, Mr Bowron certainly looks like the man for the job. His commanding role at Aldgate underground station in the wake of the 2005 terrorist bombings speaks of recognised ability. In addition, his current areas of expertise in combating economic crime and having regard for the reputation of the City as a well-policed and a well-regulated centre are of obvious relevance to this Island’s policing.
But, as Mr Bowron will doubtless recognise, he will have to win the confidence of a number of groups if he is to succeed. He must convince police officers at all levels of seniority that he is a man that they can trust. He must be capable of countering any mistrust stemming from those politicians who seem to sense high-level conspiracies at every turn. Above all, his handling of a force that has been tested to the limit by a succession of scandals on a variety of scales must prove to the Jersey public that he has the skills to inspire a fresh start.
Mr Bowron deserves every encouragement and all possible support when he dons the chief’s uniform next year, but we should acknowledge our debt of gratitude to Mr Warcup, who leaves in December.
The acting chief’s role in the suspension of Mr Power has attracted a great deal of flak and, very reasonably, he has made it clear that he has no interest in weathering further insults and accusations. In spite of his decision, we should remember that it was he, with investigating office Mick Gradwell, who unpicked the damaging, costly and tragic mess that the Haut de la Garenne inquiry had become by the time its misguided prime mover, Lenny Harper, had left the Island.