Island Update

Major Incident progress update from Chief of Police, Robin Smith

Chief of Police, Robin Smith, has praised staff for their hard work and professionalism in dealing with an unprecedented number of major incidents while also maintaining the day-to-day safety of Islanders.

The Chief thanked officers and staff within the States of Jersey Police during his Island Update today (Tue, Nov 14) which outlined how the force has been working on four major incidents in less than 12 months.

Since the terrible tragedies off the coast of St Ouen and in Pier Road last December, the force has also been investigating the road traffic collision in Grouville where father and son Dean and Charlie Lowe died in August and played a key role in preventing any deaths when the Island was hit by storm Ciaran recently.

Chief of Police, Robin Smith, said: “We are currently in a position where a force of just over 200 officers is investigating a series of incidents involving 15 unexplained deaths.

“There is an enormous amount of hard work being done at the moment by colleagues and the fact they can undertake such complex and painstaking investigations while also continuing to respond to the calls of Islanders every day is truly commendable.

“The organisation is running hot and it has been running hot for almost a year now. Today is 341 days since the L’Ecume II tragedy and since then our major incident teams have worked through nearly 2,500 lines of enquiry, taken over 1,200 statements and examined almost 3,000 exhibits across three investigations.

“For the last 11 months our investigators have been diligently collecting every piece of evidence to help ensure that we get to the truth of what happened for victims, families and the wider community. But the investigators are only one part of the team that also involves family liaison officers and civilian staff who all contribute to the overall effort.

“While the major incidents will inevitably be the focus for many Islanders and media, we should not forget the huge efforts that staff make to ensure the Island is a safe place every day and that’s the bread and butter of policing and the broader work we do.”

As well as talking about the broader efforts involved in dealing with the major incidents, the Chief also spoke specifically about progress on each incident individually.

Operation Spire

“We’ve arrested three people who have been bailed while our investigation continues. We’re currently awaiting the results of forensic tests by the Health and Safety Executive in the UK in order to complete our investigations.

“Whilst the investigation into the events at Pier Road remains a joint one between the SOJP and HSI, there are two separate criminal investigations being conducted under this umbrella – the one by us and one by the Health and Safety Inspectorate, which is considering potential offences under the Health and Safety at Work Law.

“While we have continued to keep bereaved families and those who lost their homes up to date with what is happening, we have also been working with the Government and others who are supporting displaced families and looking at issues such as how to mark the anniversary.

“As we move forward, the Health and Safety Inspectorate and States of Jersey Police will continue to provide updates.”

Operation Nectar

“In preparation for submitting the file, the investigation team has completed more than 600 lines of enquiry since the start of the investigation and worked through more than 1075 documents, 467 pieces of media (for example, CCTV footage and photographs), 920 exhibits and 258 pieces of property.

In addition, 202 statements have been obtained from around 138 witnesses, which have been focused enquiries due to the limited number of eyewitnesses to the events of the collision.

The Law Officers’ Department will review the file but given its size and complexity it will take some time to consider the evidence submitted and make a decision on charging.”

Operation Doric

“The whole Island was shocked by the terrible events in which Dean and Charlie Lowe died this summer and as part of our ongoing investigation a suspect remains on bail.

“We’ve also been using expertise in UK labs to analyse some of the evidence we’ve collected which, so far, also includes 169 Lines of Enquiry, 504 documents, 94 statements and 414 media items such as CCTV footage.”

Storm Ciaran

“The events of a couple of weeks ago remain fresh in the mind for Islanders. The clean-up process is still ongoing, and it will take many years for the Island to fully recover.

“The difference with this major incident is that, thanks to the fantastic forecasting of Jersey Met Office, we saw it coming and had time to prepare. 

“Now everyone has a tale to tell about Storm Ciaran, but thanks to the warnings that Islanders thankfully heeded, at least they can tell it. The fact that we have not been dealing with additional fatalities as a result of the storm is a welcome relief.

“The support from the community towards those affected by this incident has been heart-warming and officers have really appreciated it.”


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