The Gibraltar Police (Quango) Authority Lacks Transparency and Accountability!

Leo Olivero

Over the past 14 years, or since the 2006 constitution created a police authority in Gibraltar. It was obvious than, as it is now, that this (so-called) independent policing body was not going to be an effective body.

As was the case in the UK, where there was plenty of political talk and serious consideration about abolishing police authorities. I knew this to be the case, from my own UK contacts. I also wrote about the GPA enough times in Panorama before the constitution was passed, during and many times after and continue... today!

In fact, in 2007 Sir Ronnie Flanagan a retired senior British police officer, at the time Home Office Chief Inspector of Constabulary for the United Kingdom excluding Scotland, had completed an extensive review of UK policing one of his many recommendations was the abolition of UK Police Authorities (Scotland not included). Flanagan wanted to move Police Authority powers away from authorities to increase greater accountability, highlighting, that because they are appointed, Police Authorities lack the power to argue against a one size fits all approach to policing and lack the visibility to be accountable to the community! VERY TRUE IN FACT!

GPA Statutory Duties and Responsibilities

The statutory responsibilities and powers of the GPA and how it should function as laid down in Section 5 of the Police Act 2006, they are:

· Maintenance of standards, efficiency and effectiveness of the Force

· to secure the maintenance of an efficient and effective police force for Gibraltar within the financial resources available to it and on a value for money basis;

· to ensure high standards of integrity, probity and independence of policing in Gibraltar;

· to establish, operate and supervise the process for investigating complaints against police officers under the Act

Consultation with the Community: another important area for the GPA, they are legally obliged:

1. Provide a mechanism for enhanced police accountability through a process of consultation with the community;

2. Provide information on police issues to the community.

3. Draw up and publish an Annual Policing Plan in accordance with section 8 of the Act

4. Draw up and publish an Annual Report in accordance with section 10 of the Act, and

5. Hold the Commissioner to account for matters which are the responsibility of the Authority.

GPA Has Always Starved the Gibraltar Public of Information on Policing Issues

Successive GPAs over the years, have failed in their rather timid endeavour to deliver or get anywhere close to the full meaning of their main functions as prescribed by law. Again, I have penned many Panorama reports on this exact point. A search of the Panorama archives will confirm this!