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Officers hail revival of honorary police force

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SENIOR honorary police officers have hailed the revival of the historic service after a major recruitment campaign attracted scores of interested volunteers.

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More than 150 potential recruits have expressed interest in serving as voluntary police officers across all 12 parishes since the largest-ever drive to increase numbers was launched last month.

In St Helier, 15 people are due to be interviewed over the coming weeks – many aged between 25 and 45.

St Helier Centenier Danny Scaife, head of the Comité des Chefs de Police, said the campaign had helped show the force – often shrouded with a negative stigma – in a new light.

‘To date, 151 people have expressed an interest and every parish has had someone express interest. We have seen more interest in the southern parishes but we’ve been delighted with the response.’

In St Saviour, a parish that has previously been fined £5,000 for failing to fill its legal quota of Centeniers and warned on other occasions, there have been 24 expressions of interest.

The Chef de Police, Centenier Steven Lafolley-Edwards, hailed the success of the campaign as ‘fantastic’. At full strength, the force should have 32 Constable’s Officers – the lowest rank in the forces – but are about ten short.

‘In one word it has been fantastic. The campaign has shown that the honorary police is not just speeding fines and parking tickets,’ he said. ‘We are still two Vingteniers and one Centenier short. So if any former officers are interested in returning we would be happy to speak to them.’

Many of the 12 honorary forces declared a crisis in May as numbers dwindled and recruitment all but dried up as they battled to overcome image problems and a stigma surrounding the role.

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In the six parishes worst affected by the recruitment crisis – St Saviour, Grouville, St Brelade, St Peter, St Lawrence and St Martin – almost half of the posts are vacant, with a total of 67 unfilled. Between them, those parish forces should have 152 officers.

At the launch of the new recruitment campaign – which has targeted minority groups and younger Islanders using social-media videos – Mr Scaife said the aim was to find 100 new recruits across all 12 parishes to fill vacant roles.

In Grouville, the Chef de Police, Centenier Nick Andrews, said they hoped to achieve their complement of about 14 or 15 Constable’s Officers – up from about seven. The maximum number is 19.

He said: ‘This campaign has tapped into the young people’s interests. It’s targeted those who are social-network savvy, and that is so important because the future relies on young people.’

New recruits must be aged between 20 and 69 and have been resident in Jersey for at least two years. For more information, contact a parish hall or the Town Hall or visit yourparishneedsyou.je.

Jack Maguire

By Jack Maguire
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