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Friday, 22 April 2011

"Four Months Is Not Long Enough To Understand THE JERSEY WAY"

Purporter Insular Vale speaking to Chief Officer Bowron about his first four months in the job.

It's been nearly four months since Mike Bowron, the former Commissioner of the City of London Police, took over as Chief of Police in Jersey.

On arrival he was determined to cut crime, reduce fear of crime and increase police presence on the island's streets.

Already islanders have witnessed more bobbies on the beat, as well as more rigorous and frequent road checks, be it speed checks, seatbelt checks or other road safety checks.

And as it turns out visiblity has been one of his main priorities.

"You can't have too many priorities," said Mr Bowron, "but for me visibility and a friendlier, warmer image so hence you'll see some white shirts rather than sort of black nylon shirts. More visibility, going down to single patrol except for Friday and Saturday nights which effectively doubles visibility in terms fo cars and beat patrols. We've re-opened the town office over the road there which has been lying empty for the last eight years, I understand- and getting cops out on the beat at peak times so they're seen by most of the population.

"Road crashes have been a big issue for me. I think far too many serious and injury crashes in Jersey, it's about one a day, injury crashes- hence speed campaigns, safety belt campaigns and it's just getting the message across to people. There are very courteous drivers in Jersey but far too many crashes. And you know driving is a responsibility, you know a tonne and a half of metal you know, hold the wheel and take it seriously."

And what about feedback from islanders?

"Yeah, very positive, there's some implied criticism that because we've increased visibility by day then something must be drawn off nights but it's just not so. The night-time economy is another priority clearly, but you know I've been out to see all the nightclubs and most of the pubs in uniform, and you know it's no worse here than anywhere else in the UK and I can assure you of that. And we double our capability on a Friday and Saturday night between 9 o'clock and 2am in the morning. So there's two shifts overlapping. So we haven't denuded those resources. We're just policing smarter."

Improving the feeling of safety amongst islanders hasn't been his only focus. Improving morale internally has also been important. Jersey Police, has been subject to intense scrutiny in the last few years, and Mr Bowron's attention to the "shop window" as he calls it, has already gone some way to bridging the distance between the force and the public.

"It is about self belief," said Mr Bowron, "and self esteem and you know, lets make no mistake, the States of Jersey Police have had a difficult time over the last two or three years and we've got to move onwards and upwards and just restore that.... you know morale is not bad and it wasn't bad when I came here, you know, I think that gets inflated. But it's just about improving self-esteem, self confidence, and feeling that we're at one with the public."

Mr Bowron is regularly seen walking through town in uniform himself, often sacrificing his lunch hour in order to walk the beat.

"Well I don't need to prove or say I'm a frustrated beat officer," he said. "I've been a beat officer, I've marched my beat in Brighton years ago- but I actually enjoy it. I balance my day and I do all the strategic things I've got to do and I do all the meetings I have to do but I don't take a lunch hour but I always come down to town and have a walk round.

"If I were in the city, my last job as Commissioner, I found that everyone was walking at four miles an hour with an I-phone in one hand and a skinny latte in the other and nobody wanted to talk. Here they want to talk and I absolutely love it."

His Easter will be spent in Jersey, with his wife who's a police officer on the Olympic team. On their agenda is walking as much as possible of the North Coast and enjoying the warm weather. But he also has some official engagements including the Charity Duck race and dinner with the island's honorary police.

"It's all part of the job and I love it" he said.

I am wondering if Mr Bowron will love it as much when he realizes just what it is that he has stepped into?

He appears to be a straight forward and decent enough guy, what will he do when "The Jersey Way" comes calling and demanding he goes against everything he was tutored to believe in? What of that day? If he is a cop of the calibre of Harper & Power, he is going to wish he had never heard of Jersey....And, he will do exactly what Lenny & Graham did. That, I would love to see.

Good luck Mr Bowron, I think you are going to need it.


  1. Surely he knows exactly what he has stepped into.

    He's mid 50s therefore 5 years of towing the line, keeping his nose clean and not making a fuss.

    Then lovely big Jersey pension.

    Then again someone might rattle his cage in that time.

  2. as a former commissioner of the Corporation of the city of london police, Bowron will know what the local 'firm' want of their policymen

  3. "morale is not bad and it wasn't bad when I came here, you know, I think that gets inflated."

    Siding with Weirdcop and Grabwell then?

  4. 'you know morale is not bad and it wasn't bad when I came here, you know, I think that gets inflated'.

    I picked up on that comment as well. I cant see how he can be siding with Weirdcop & Gradwell as he has only just arrived. What attracted my attention about that statement is that i thought that I had recently read that morale was low due to bullying.If I did read that then he has just refuted it. That therefore would indicate that certain predessors must have been running a reasonably happy police force,and that someone was exagerating.Couldnt be part of our media circus could it?