St Helena Online

Tag: police

St Helena police officers to wear body cameras

Body-worn cameras have been ordered for St Helena Police to improve evidence gathering.

Officers wear the cameras alongside radios (picture: West Midlands Police)
Officers wear the cameras alongside radios (picture: West Midlands Police)

It has not been decided when officers will begin wearing the video cameras on their uniforms, or whether they will be worn routinely.

Trevor Botting, the island’s Chief of Police, has been studying guidance on the kit after its use was recommended in the Lucy Faithfull Foundation’s report on sex abuse on St Helena.

In 2014, Staffordshire Police became the first force in Europe to equip all its personnel with body-worn cameras, saying they were more effective in securing prosecutions than an officer’s written notes.

The county’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Ellis, said of the move: “It will protect people who are being arrested and it will save a vast amount of time by providing actual pictorial evidence in court rather than thousands and thousands of words.”

A man was jailed in February 2015 for an attack on a policewoman that she filmed on her body camera.

The civil liberties body Big Brother Watch warned of privacy issues for members of the public being filmed without their knowledge, but said the cameras would improve the quality of evidence and save court time.

The cameras are the size of a cigarette packet and are worn on the front of an officer’s jacket. Footage is downloaded at the end of a shift and deleted after a short period if it is not needed.

Mr Botting said: “Studies and experiences from across the UK and elsewhere has shown that the use of cameras can enhance evidence gathering and lead to more guilty pleas at court and reduce complaints against the police.

“Body-worn cameras record sound as well as visual images and the cameras are worn openly by officers.

“There is no date for the introduction of body-worn cameras but equipment has been ordered. Before they are deployed it is planned that the public will be made aware of the cameras and their use through a media release.

“It is not known at this time if all officers will wear the cameras and a policy for their use is being developed.”

READ MORE: 
Jail for attack on police sergeant – BBC News
Body camera on every PC’s lapel – Daily Mail
Body-worn cameras briefing – Big Brother Watch

MP voices concerns as police investigate their accusers

A “proper review” should be held into the way St Helena Police were allowed to investigate two social workers who had made whistle-blowing claims against them, a UK Member of Parliament has said.

St Helena Government has denied that there was any possibility of “inappropriate influence”, even though officers would have appeared able to access emails containing corruption claims against the police service.

One of the social workers has also expressed anger about the way St Helena’s Attorney General, Nicola Moore, announced the outcome of the case without informing him.

Martin Warsama has also taken legal advice about critical comments she made that appeared to relate to all four of the former officials who were investigated over an adoption case.

All four were cleared – including her own predecessor, Frank Wastell.

Mr Warsama has also written to the Attorney General demanding to know the basis of criticisms made about them – and to ask why he was not told about them before they were made public.

None of the people investigated were named in the Attorney General’s statement, but three of those involved had been publicly identified elsewhere.

The statement attributed the criticisms to independent counsel who had reviewed evidence in the affair. But St Helena Government has refused to name the two lawyers who reviewed the files.

Mr Warsama said he did not even know about Nicola Moore’s statement until he was sent an internet link, two days after it was issued.

Chief Justice Charles Ekins had recommended that the case should be reviewed by an independent lawyer to see whether there might have been perjury or an attempt to pervert the course of justice – both serious crimes.

But Mr Warsama feared the police investigation would give officers the opportunity to seize emails that would reveal allegations he had made about the handling of sex abuse cases.

The British government has since commissioned an inquiry by Sasha Wass QC into alleged police corruption on the island. Mr Warsama was due to meet her in London on Friday, 27 February 2015.

The government dismissed any suggestion of a conflict of interest for police because of oversight by the unnamed independent counsel, and the involvement of Merseyside Police. Mr Warsama was not pacified.

Concerns about the investigation and the events that led to it were sent to the British MP John Hemming. In an email, he said: “This needs a proper review, but that may need to be after the elections [in May 2015].”

Asked for a comment, he said: “It worries me if whistle-blowers are investigated by those against whom they have blown the whistle.”

Mr Hemming has been praised by Britain’s Home Secretary for his campaigning on sex abuse. On 4 February 2015, he told the House of Commons he had documentary evidence that officials in London turned a blind eye to child abuse on St Helena.

Mr Warsama said Nicola Moore had breached his privacy by revealing that information had been passed to the professional bodies of the four people investigated in the adoption case.

He said such information should have been confidential. Ms Moore has pointed out that the Daily Telegraph had already reported than the social workers’ professional body had been investigating.

The Health and Care Professions Council, which regulates social workers, also said that complaints were kept private under its duty of confidentiality.

Questions put to St Helena Government:

On 27 February 2015, St Helena Government press office was asked: “Could you please tell me the names of the two independent Counsel who reviewed the judgment and addendum in the adoption case on Ascension? It should be a matter of public record and easy to establish.

“Although none of the investigated people were named, it is widely known that they included Claire Gannon and Martin Warsama (the latter has told me so) and that they had acted as whistle-blowers, making allegations against St Helena Police regarding sex abuse.

“Could you please give me a comment on the fact that the two social workers were being investigated by the very police force against which they had acted as whistle-blowers? There would appear to be a conflict of interest and I expect to write a story to this effect.

“Please say when Operation Ladder commenced, and when the investigation was complete. Please say whether anyone was arrested and bailed in the course of the investigation.”

Response from St Helena Government:

Received 27 February 2015: “No personal details will be provided as to the identity of any individuals concerned. The oversight by independent counsel, both at the instigation of the investigation and when deciding upon charges, plus the close involvement of Merseyside Police, removes the potential for any inappropriate influence by anyone including the St Helena Police Service. As was made clear in the Attorney General’s statement, the investigation flowed directly from a recommendation from the Chief Justice following concerns relating to the conduct of a family case in the Supreme Court. It is therefore quite evidently incorrect and misleading to link the investigation to the issues raised by those persons who assert that they are whistle blowers. Kind Regards….”

SEE ALSO:
Criminal investigation clears sex abuse whistle-blowers
New safeguarding boss promises action and support for victims
Ivy exposes years of inaction over St Helena sex abuse
Top barrister to investigate sex abuse ‘cover up’ claims

Man in custody after alleged violent disorder

An incident of violent disorder in Jamestown led to one man being arrested on suspicion of affray, report St Helena Police.

The weekly crime round-up says one male was detained in custody on Thursday 31 January 2013 and charged with several criminal offences. Bail was refused.

A special court hearing was held two days later and the man was remanded in custody until Thursday 7 February.

  • Note: the outcome of court cases is not usually reported in St Helena’s media. Although hearings are in public, St Helena Online does not have the resources to cover them.

Airport jobs are not a licence for banned drivers, say police

Banned drivers and learners employed on St Helena’s airport project have been warned they must not drive in public places while at work.

People without a valid licence can drive on construction sites with consent from airport contractor Basil Read – but the exemption does not cover the whole of the development area.

Sergeant Ray Bloye of St Helena Police said: “There has been at least one occasion of a learner driver driving unsupervised whilst working for Basil Read. This was on the road at Rupert’s.

“Police have also received reports of disqualified drivers being employed by Basil Read. This is for Basil Read to decide if those drivers can drive on their construction sites (they have their own insurance and risks assessments) but they cannot drive on public roads/places.”

Construction sites include the new haul road and land where work is being carried out at Bradleys, but not the road to Bradleys.

Sergeant Bloye said: “Basil Read employees who are disqualified, are learners, or under age, should make their driver status known to Basil Read for them to make their decision as to whether they can drive on construction sites only.”

Domestic violence on St Helena: six arrests in three months

St Helena Police dealt with seven incidents of domestic violence in the space of three months between August and November 2012. One of the people arrested was a woman. The cases have all been detailed in the island’s weekly crime bulletin. 

Reports by DETECTIVE SERGEANT CLARENCE ROBERTS

Monday 13 August 2012: During the early hours, police attended a domestic violence incident in Half Tree Hollow which resulted in one female being arrested on reasonable suspicion of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and detained in custody. Investigations continue at this time.

Friday 31 August 2012: On the evening of Friday, police attended a report of domestic violence and criminal damage in the Longwood area. One male was arrested and subsequently charged to court for the offences.

Tuesday 11 September 2012: police were informed that a domestic violence incident had occurred on Monday evening in the Half Tree Hollow area.  Police commenced an inquiry and later that morning a male person was arrested for reasonable suspicion of assault and detained in custody and subsequently charged, but bail was refused.  A Special Court convened on Wednesday morning and the person was remanded in custody until Thursday 20 September.

Saturday 13 October 2012: On Saturday night police were called to a domestic violence incident in the Half Tree Hollow area where one male person was arrested for assault occasioning actual bodily harm and detained in custody.  After being interviewed, he was released on conditional bail pending further investigations.

Also on Saturday police attended another domestic dispute in the Jamestown area and one person was warned for causing a breach of the peace.

Saturday 27 October 2012: On Saturday afternoon police responded to a domestic violence incident in the Half Tree Hollow which resulted in a male person being arrested on suspicion of assault and detained in custody.  He was later interviewed, charged with common assault and bail was refused.  A Special Court convened this morning and he was released on conditional bail to return to Court in due course.

Monday 12 November 2012: On Monday evening police received a report of domestic violence incident in the Half Tree Hollow area which resulted in one male person being arrested on reasonable suspicion of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and detained in custody.  He was later interviewed and charged and bail was refused.  On Wednesday a Special Court convened and he was remanded in custody until today.

SEE ALSO:
St Helena crime archive

Stolen bikes and cash seized after import investigation

One of the stolen bikes has been donated to Prince Andrew School by its legal owner in the UK

An investigation into stolen motorcycles being imported to St Helena has led to the seizure of a dozen machines. They are to be sold at auction.

Police also found a large sum of money on the island. The courts in Jamestown have ordered that the cash be forfeited.

Several other motorbikes were sold to people on the island who were unaware they were stolen.

Inspector Rod Paterson said: “None of these motorcycles have been detained and there will not be any further police action with regards to these vehicles that remain with the innocent purchaser.”

The investigation was carried out by police and the customs service. A court case is pending in the UK.

One of the stolen motorcycles – an off-road bike – has been donated to Prince Andrew School by its legal owner.

Dean Barnsley, a mechanics teacher from Wolverhampton, “very generously requested that his bike is donated to Prince Andrew School as a teaching aid,” said Inspector Paterson.

The remaining 11 motorcycles were due to be auctioned on Saturday 10 November 2012 in the customs warehouse, on a sold-as-seen basis.

Stray pups found – police seek owner

Police have been trying to trace the owner of four puppies found by a member of the public on St Helena on 20 October 2012. No further details have been released.

Wandering dogs prompt ‘zero tolerance’ warning

Police report continuing problems with dogs being allowed to wander loose on St Helena.

Officers had to round up animals roaming in the airport development area at Longwood on 16 October 2012, and complaints have been made on other occasions.

Jeromy Cairns-Wicks, the community beat sergeant, has issued two releases this month warning of costly action against dog owners.

In the first, he said: “Stray dogs are again an increasing problem.

“Over the last few months, St. Paul’s and Half Tree Hollow areas have seen a positive improvement, with a number of dog owners being dealt with for allowing their dogs to wonder uncontrolled. We are now receiving complaints from residents in Bottom Wood and Longwood.

“The action the police will take with regard to straying dogs is a zero tolerance policy. In other words, if a dog is caught straying on public or private land it can be impounded.

“If the owner is identified and there is sufficient evidence for the offence, the owner will be prosecuted in court.”

In the latest release, he said the owners would have to pay for the cost of kenneling.

On 10 October, police also dealt with the owner of goats that had been found trespassing on private property in the Longwood area.

Search dog Poppy wins award for finding missing child

The search dog that found missing three-year-old Ziggy Joshua has been given a commendation certificate for reuniting him with his parents.

St Helena’s deputy fire chief, Alan Thomas, has told how he asked for one of Paul Laban’s trained dogs to be brought in when Ziggy went missing in the Hutt’s Gate area, prompting a large search operation.

Ziggy had been on the island less than a week, on a visit from Ascension, when he wandered off in unfamiliar surroundings.

Alan told the St Helena Broadcasting Corporation: “If it had not been for Poppy on the day, who knows? She led us to Ziggy.

“Initially she was dragging Paul down the hill. She started to bark: I thought she was barking at the cattle, but to find no cattle down there. So maybe an indication she was nearing Ziggy. She changed direction, took Paul across the hill and back down the hill and there Ziggy were.”

Paul, who runs Top Dog Security, said any of his three dogs could have found Ziggy, after two and a half years of training with the fire and rescue service.

He said: “This is the first live we have actually gone on. It must give the people of St Helena a lot of heart knowing that these dogs, whichever one gets the shout, the outcome should be the same. They are brilliant dogs, superb. Nothing but praise for the handlers.”

Chief of police Peter Coll has presented commendation certificates to Paul and Alan, as well as to Poppy.

The SHBC daily news bulletin can be heard at any time at www.shbc.sh.

SEE ALSO:
http://sthelenaonline.org/2012/09/27/governor-praises-search-for-ziggy/

Police chief expresses sadness for convicted prison boss

The conviction of St Helena’s last prison manager for theft has been described as a “sad situation” following positive work on the island.

St Helena Police helped recover stolen property left on the island by Mick Morris, who was said in court in the UK to have had a long-term problem with depression.

Morris, 45, received a six-month prison term, suspended for a year, after admitting to magistrates that he stole two laptop computers, an ebook reader, a netbook mini-computer, and a Polaroid camera from Leyhill Open Prison in the UK, where he was a deputy governor. He was placed on a curfew for 12 weeks, and ordered to pay compensation.

Peter Coll, chief of police in Jamestown, said:

“Mick Morris committed these offences before his appointment in St Helena and they arose as a result of allegations made recently in the UK and that is why this was not picked up in security checks and character references when he was appointed.

“The offences did not involve St Helena and this was a matter investigated and dealt with in the UK. The St Helena Police Directorate were in close contact with the Avon & Somerset Police throughout this inquiry and fully co-operated and assisted them in
the recovery of some property.

“Mick tendered his resignation in St Helena once it became apparent that he was being investigated for these offences and for other personal reasons that prevented him completing his contract.

“This is a sad situation where Mick has left his own reputation tarnished following some positive work for us here. This is a reminder that nobody is above the law either in the UK or in St Helena.”

SEE ALSO:
Jamestown prison boss gets jail term for theft

Facebook