Parish Honorary Police
Honorary Police officers have, for centuries, been elected by parishioners to assist the Connétable of the Parish to maintain law and order. Officers are elected as Centeniers, Vingteniers or Constable's Officers each with various duties and responsibilities. The Honorary Police provided the only law enforcement prior to the appointment of paid Police officers for the Parish of St Helier in 1853 and later to serve the whole Island. The Honorary Police still provide an essential and very valuable service to the Parish and community in which we live.
The number of honorary police officers in each Parish is prescribed in statute and is as follows:
| ||Centeniers||Vingteniers||Constable's Officers|
Election of Honorary Police officers
Each Parish elects a number of Centeniers, Vingteniers and Constable's Officers who each take an oath in the Royal Court and serve a 3 year term of office.
A person may be nominated for election as a member of the Honorary Police if, on the day of nomination, s/he is at least 20 years of age and less than 70 years of age. However, serving members of the Honorary Police who have attained the age of 70 may
stand for re-election to the same office for one further and final term. Whilst
still in office they may also stand for election to a different office within
the Honorary Police. A person over the age of 70 elected to a different office
cannot on the expiry of that term office be re-elected to serve a further term
or whilst still in office be elected to a different office.
The person must also be resident in the Parish at the time of their first election or, in the case of St Helier, be a ratepayer or
mandataire (representative of a body corporate which is liable for rates) of that Parish. If an officer moves out of the Parish during her/his term of office, s/he may continue her/his term of office with the approval of H M Attorney General and the Connétable of the Parish and may stand for re-election provided there is no break in service.
It is important that the person elected is not only capable of discharging his/her duties, but also seen to be capable, and therefore certain persons e.g. the holder of a bookmaker's or betting office licence, would be disqualified from appointment in view of the possible conflict of interest in policing of licensing offences.
A criminal record check is undertaken on all persons standing for election as a member of the Honorary Police.
Honorary Police officers are on duty for one week at a time, usually every 3 or 4 weeks depending upon the roster within the Parish, and are on call 24 hours a day during that period. Honorary Police officers are elected to serve the Parish but in certain circumstances may assist or operate outside the Parish.
To find out more about the role and whether you could serve as a member of the Honorary Police contact the Connétable of your Parish for further information.
Centeniers are elected at a public election within the Parish. Each candidate must be proposed and seconded by 10 electors of the Parish.
In addition to general policing matters, the Centenier in Jersey remains the only officer entitled to charge and bail offenders. The Centenier presides at Parish Hall Enquiries and acts as Prosecuting Officer before the Magistrate's Court. One of the Centeniers is appointed by the Connétable as the Chef de Police for the Parish in accordance with the Honorary Police (Jersey) Regulations 2005 (jerseylaw).
Elections for Centeniers are held every 9 months. The next elections will be in June 2016, March 2017, December 2017, and September 2018.
Vingteniers are elected by the Parish Assembly to serve a Vingtaine in that Parish (or a Cueillette in St Ouen) but do not have to live within that Vingtaine (or Cueillette).
In addition to general policing matters, the Vingtenier undertakes certain financial duties for the Parish including assisting with the Visite du Branchage. In practice the exact nature of these duties may vary from Parish to Parish.
The Parish Assembly elects Constables Officers to a Vingtaine in that Parish (or a Cueillette in St Ouen) but the officer does not have to live within that Vingtaine (or Cueillette). These officers assist the Centeniers and Vingteniers of the Parish with general policing matters.
Parish Hall Enquiry
The Parish Hall Enquiry allows a Centenier to investigate a reported incident to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to justify a charge and if so whether the public interest requires a prosecution or whether the matter can be dealt with in some other way at the Enquiry.
Code of directions on the conduct of parish hall enquiries
Comité des Chefs de Police
A Chef de Police is appointed in each Parish from the Centeniers of that Parish and is responsible to the Connétable for the operational policing of the Parish. The functions of the Chef de Police are to:
- in so far as circumstances permit, deliver the key aims and objectives of any policies of the Connétable of the parish for the effective policing of the parish and to enhance the policing service in the parish; and
- supervise and manage the members and resources of the Honorary Police of the parish.
The Chef de Police of every Parish is a member of the Comité des Chefs de Police and it is the role of the Comité to:
- foster co-operation with the States of Jersey Police Force and work with all appropriate States or other community organisations; and
- promote consistency and high standards of operational practice between the Honorary Police of each parish.
Honorary Police Association
All Centeniers, Vingteniers and Constable's Officers are members of the Honorary Police Association and its role is to:
- seek to strengthen and uphold the Honorary Police by fostering and maintaining the unity of its members; and
- represent its members in matters affecting their welfare and efficiency.