Monday, 19 July 2010

David Warcup's Resignation - A Comment

Reading David Warcup's resignation statement, I think it is a shame that the personal abuse which has been directed at him, will propbably overshadow the very serious criticism of his part in the suspension of Mr Power..
In the Suspension review meetings, Dr Brain certainly criticised Mr Warcup's actions, and it was clear than many States members were not happy to rush the appointment of someone who had been in part responsible for the suspension of Mr Power; they simply thought it was not proper for an appointment to be made while one of the parties involved in any disciplinary action was a candidate for the post when he had been involved in the removal of the previous incumbent. That seem to me to be a perfectly proper reason for delay. Dr Brain's accusations (I prefer the term arguments) for the role played by Mr Warcup in the suspension of Graham Power were neither malicious nor completely unfounded, based as they were upon a letter written by Mr Warcup:

I dealt with Dr Brain's comments on Mr Warcup's letter here, which make plain that he certainly was one of players (whether justifiably or not) in the events leading to the suspension of Graham Power:

I don't think it was unreasonable to wait until disciplinary proceedings, which were at the time still possible, had taken place before appointing him to the post of Police Chief.

Just consider by analogy what might have happened if (hypothetically) the Bailiff had been suspended because, in part, of a letter produced by the Deputy Bailiff. Even if the Bailiff said he would be retiring in six months, would it be proper to approve the appointment of Deputy to Bailiff until all the matters raised from the letter, and any inquiry and disciplinary proceedings had been completed? I don't think anyone would think that was somehow "politically motivated"; I think it would just be seen as common sense.

So when he says:

He believes there's been a politically-motivated interference in his appointment, despite a report by Wiltshire Police vindicating his stance on the conduct of the Historic Abuse Inquiry.
I think it is perfectly proper to disagree - while disciplinary proceedings were still an option, and Mr Power's side had not been heard, it might have been Mr Power who had been vindicated. Remember Senator Le Marquand's own position was that Wiltshire would only be part of the review process:

"Even once I get the Wiltshire Report I will not be in a position to make decisions, other than perhaps to form any preliminary view, because to do justice to Mr. Power I must hear, in full, his account of matters."

So the resulting delays, as difficult as they have been for Mr Power, must in the interests of justice, also be difficult for Mr Warcup. He may well have acted with the best of intentions, but he cannot be considered to have been totally vindicated any more than Mr Power has been judged guilty.

The failure and the continual delays in the disciplinary process were to blame for that, and it is high time that a time limit of no more than a year is introduced for any disciplinary proceedings. The lack of any deadline has led to a lax approach, and dismissal by stealth.

What has not been so good, however, are the habitual sneers of Mr Syvret and others in infantile name calling - "Weirdcop" being their preferred term of abuse. That's just petty, but it is like a dripping tap, and that, coupled with and on top of quite legitimate reasons, probably was the last straw for Mr Warcup. This certainly counts as  what he terms "provocation and persistent attempts to undermine my authority as the Acting Chief Officer of Police". That has muddied the debate, and it is probably too much to hope that it will cease, but it it should not be allowed to divert attention from the very real and legitimate reasons for States members seeking a delay.


Rob Kent said...

Re "He may well have acted with the best of intentions, but he cannot be considered to have been totally vindicated any more than Mr Power has been judged guilty."

I don't think he acted with the best intentions at all - quite the opposite. I think he was part of a conspiracy to bury the HdlG investigation and 'restore Jersey's reputation'.

I think his press conference and Gradwell's subsequent remarks on the subject are a disgrace.

Yes, he may have thought he was a shoo-in for the job and is surprised to be still waiting, but how naive can he be?

It's not the trite name-calling that has forced him out. It's the realisation that events have got out of control and are going to run and run. Because he played a central part in that, he - like the others involved - are not going to get any peace. It's not a pretty prospect for anyone.

There's something rotten at the heart of Jersey and everyone can smell it. Until your elected politicians and unelected leaders see that and realise that it is better to live in an open, democratic society, there will be constant conflict of the kind that Warcup is complaining about.

Anonymous said...

I confess, I have to agree with Rob, especially in light of the hatchet job Warcup did on Witherwack House, and Operation Rose up in the North East, I have detailed files.

Anonymous said...

Your analysis is, in my opinion, pretty much spot on.

A summary of my view is that Warcup does indeed have a case to answer for his part in the Power suspension; his position is indeed untenable and the only practical thing for him to do is resign; and finally the name-calling will probably yet again provide those so inclined with the perfect opportunity to deflect criticism onto others.

The simple fact is that no prospective Police Chief could allow his name to go forward to a States debate, albeit in camera, when there is likely to be such unprecedented opposition. The approval of the appointment of a Police Chief by the States should really me a mere formality as the credentials of such a person should be impeccable.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with rob. Many others have been adversely affected by this fiasco which was nothing but an attempted cover up. No community likes or wants bad press but covering it up does not make the fundamental issues go away. I am sorry but warcup et al pinned their flag to the mast a long time ago and now they have to live with it. Or in warcups case, run.

Your assertion that the name calling he experienced was wrong is incredible. So what a few names. What did the establishment do to the reputation of Gp and Lenny who were not able to reply for themselves. No warcup leaving is the best news I have heard for a long time. The only concern is who will replace him - which good cop will want to take the job when they see how jersey treated GP.

TonyTheProf said...

As I recall Lenny Harper asked for an apology when Ben Shenton called him "Lenny Henry" in one email. His attitude was not "So what a few names" but "I want an apology please". Which he got. Are you saying that David Warcup would have received an apology if he'd asked for an apology for name calling on Stuart's blog? Let's have fairness ALL round.

Jill Gracia said...

Tony - I read and enjoy your posts always, but on this occassion I am afraid I am not totally in agreement.

Rightly or wrongly I have also latched on to the 'Weirdcop' name at times, as indeed Mr Le Marquand seems to have been given the moniker of Skippy.

However, I cannot seriously believe that this would form any part in his decision not to take up the post of Police Chief. Furthermore, in light of both his and Gradwell's slating of Mr Power and Lenny Harper (fellow professionals don't forget)he actually started the process of him being unpopular with a lot of people. Let us not forget he was welcomed to the Jersey force by Graham Power.

It is a sad, but true fact of life today that people in the public eye will attract all sorts of 'nick-names', both in the media and elsewhere. This is par for the course and not exclusive to Mr Warcup.

As Rob so rightly says, people on this Island as beginning to wake up and smell the coffee, to question and challenge and seek answers.

The times they are a changin'.

Anonymous said...

Mr Warcup went along with the establishment, to suspend Mr Power, while on holiday.
That is why Mr Power went through a lot of pain staking time and effort and finally managed to gain a date of a letter/email written two days before his suspension.
This letter/email, was proof of the plans to suspend him while on holiday.
Its weird how this part of the evidence has not been revisited.

There is no doubt about it.
Mr Warcup stabbed his boss in the back and this will never go away for him.
Therefore his best and only option left now is to go.

TonyTheProf said...

I'm not entirely happy with the use of "Skippy" for Senator Le Marquand either. In the context of satire, it would be fine, but I think we must keep a divide between serious comment and satire. We can do both, but we shouldn't muddle them because it loses arguments in name-calling. So I keep a sharp distinction between my satire (which everyone knows is satire) and my comment.

Anonymous said...

Four months ago Ian Le Marquand promised his resignation if Warcup was not appointed as Chief of Police.

Today we hear Warcup has resigned as acting Chief of Police. One of the "primary reasons" given for his resignation was "political hostility which has been directed towards me".

This strongly suggests Warcup would ultimately have been denied the job of Chief of Police by virtue of political opposition.

Which in turn would have forced Ian Le Marquand's resignation...

Rob Kent said...

@Tony, "we must keep a divide between serious comment and satire."

Yes, not least because you cannot be sued for libel if it is obviously a humorous context. Private Eye have used this defence many times, only last week against the Barclay brothers who sent them a solicitors letter because Sark residents have been posting the spoof Daily Torygraph page in windows around the island.

TonyTheProf said...

Yes I've got the copy of that Private Eye, in case I ever need to use that defence myself. If it succeeds against the Barclays, I should be fairly safe!

TonyTheProf said...

Regarding Senator Le Marquand, he promised to resign if the States didn't approve the appointment of Mr Warcup, so there's no obligation for him to resign now.

Rob Kent said...

@Tony, "in case I ever need to use that defence myself."

Sorry, mate, you're in a different jurisdiction.

It's two days in the stocks and death by drowning for you I'm afraid.

Anonymous said...

This is a complex matter and so I believe that all the comments are appropriate to some degree.

The following seems to me to be the basic chain of events -

1. For some political reason about, it was decided in 2008 that Graham Power had to be made the sacrificial lamb. Possibly, if Lenny Harper had not retired, they would have been satisfied with kicking him out unceremoniously. But, with him gone, GP was the obvious candidate - particularly as he had clearly demonstrated that he would not give in to political pressure.

2. It is universally acknowledged that the original suspension of GP was completely mishandled. It is equally obvious that the suspension had to take place when it did for political reasons - and it was most convenient that GP was actually on leave at the time.

3. Whatever ILM might try to say to the contrary, the sole - or at the very least conclusive - evidence used to "convict" GP was the letter from David Warcup, GP's deputy, who staged the coup in his boss's absence.

4. ILM decided to take this whole matter to a new level by bringing in Wiltshire et al. Thus creating the sledgehammer to crack a nut environment.

5. Wiltshire et al just had to find as much dirt on GP as possible in order to bring any semblance of credibility to the actions taken by the Ministers. (No one among us could realistically face such an investigation and hope to come away with reputation intact).

6. Presumably, the Minister's fervent hope was that GP would cave in under this insurmountable pressure and the whole thing would then die a death. David Warcup could have been appointed Chief and so business as usual.

7. ILM seriously underestimated GP's resolve. ILM has recently had the temerity to castigate GP for daring to defend himself. This, I'm afraid, rather gives the game away.

We therefore now have a complete mess on our hands. A mess which will damage Jersey's reputation far more than any concerns back in 2008 about the historic abuse investigation.

And what's more, the problems back in 2008 were caused by politicians - and the mess we are in now has been caused by politicians. The professional police offices caught up in this have either been guilty of poor judgement, or opportunism in the case of Mr Warcup; and in GP's case, the sin of being human and capable of making mistakes, together with a highly developed sense of professional antipathy towards being used as a political pawn.

TonyTheProf said...

Actually because of David Warcup's resignation, I think there may be less mess than would have been the case. We may be able to get a "clean slate" police officer.

Let's just hope that we don't run into major problems because no one wants to come here - like the Super who vanished after a few days.

Anonymous said...


It is absolutely essential that we get, as you say, a "clean slate" Police Chief. Nothing else will do. The problem will be just as you forecast - who on earth will want the job? You also make appropriate reference to the 4 day Superintendent.

I feel that, for anyone of any stature to be interested in the Chief job, there will need to be a clear demonstration by the government that it has got its act together.

Actually, any experienced senior police officer who might be interested is inevitably going to have an excellent network of contacts throughout the law enforcement and security community. These people are not stupid - very far from it. They know the real facts behind the Power/Harper/Warcup issue.

So, as things presently stand, we are likely to receive applications from at best 2nd or 3rd raters only. In this case, our government has a real, tangible problem. If they try to appoint such an individual, there will be many politicians and members of the public ready to challenge this forcefully.

On the other hand, any seriously good applicant will demand to know exactly where he/she stands and will want assurances that he/she will be able to operate in a professional manner at all times.

Methinks there will be a good deal of head-scratching taking place ......