Police Commissioner must be stopped allowing illegal fishing - The Governor and Police Authority must intervene

Extracts from article By Leo Olivero

It really is shameful, that once again for the umpteenth time I have had to publish another Panorama report about the same high profile national issue that continues to rile the public and is doing wonders in confidence in the Police? 

My last report a few weeks ago on the Commissioner of Police Illegal (Spanish) Fishing Enforcement Policy was once again ignored by the Governor, the Government, the Gibraltar Police Authority and of course the Commissioner of Police who all remained silent.

I can assure all, this matter will not go away.

Police Commissioners are not paid to change the law. They are paid to enforce it. RGP commissioner Ian McGrail...needs to be sharply reminded of this, what is the Governor doing allowing this situation to continue ...as if nothing was happening!

Police Chiefs and Commissioners are employed, at very high salaries, to see that the law is enforced efficiently and intelligently and not ignored.

What the Commissioner of Police cannot make are ‘Unilateral Decisions’ and adopt an enforcement policy regarding a high profile national issue that has direct consequences on Sovereignty and the integrity of British Gibraltar Territorial Waters – He Has to Be Stopped, This Cannot Continue.

However, if McGrail is being instructed, told or is under pressure to modify, change or simple water down his fishing enforcement policy – Then He Should Simply Say So!

Ultimately, it is for the Commissioner of Police to decide how much direct or indirect political influence he wants to accept into his professional decision-making process, then apply it to the operational style of policing he directs on any given enforcement issue. However, one thing is discretion another is being irresponsible about it!

I do not criticise the discretion factor, as long as the Commissioner of Police is intelligent about it and balances this with the wider and important public opinion aspect of it all. After it is the people who the police are accountable to.

Although it’s obvious, the RGP lack a coherent enforcement strategy to tackle this high-profile national problem of interest and concern to countless locals. In this respect, criticism is read and heard daily of police not even making an appearance to these incidents.

The other main problem with this matter is the fact that illegal fishing in BGTW by these Spanish vessels is a politically charged and high profile issue with deep-rooted sovereignty implications. This is not going to go away as long as those who can do something about it...actually do something. Here I point a finger at the Governor and the new Chairman of the GPA!

Constitutional Note

‘Under the Constitutional order the Commissioner of Police is appointed by the Governor acting on the advice of the Gibraltar Police Authority, although advice he doesn’t have to take if it prejudices ‘Her Majesty’s Service’ as it reads in the order.

The Constitutional order also says the Governor shall keep the Chief Minister fully informed concerning the general conduct of those matters for which he is responsible, but adds, the

Governor shall not be obliged to consult with, or act in accordance with the advice of the Council of Ministers or the Chief Minister in the exercise of those powers conferred to him’

I am not aware if the Governor has consulted with anyone, although I suspect he has. Even then, it is obvious for all to see the Governor is allowing the Commissioner of Police to continue with a serious ‘Derogation of Duty’ against Gibraltar’s national interest and for this reason alone, the Governor should take this matter seriously and if that means considering the position of the Commissioner of Police if the present situation continues, then that will have to be a potential Constitutional possibility.