Sark police chief says his tiny Channel island is ‘awash’ with crooks

Sark police chief says his tiny Channel island – with population of just 500 – is ‘awash’ with crooks and officers need pepper spray and drink-drive kits to catch drunk horse-and-cart riders

  • PC Mike Fawson says idyllic Channel island of Sark is over-run with offenders 
  • Says officers need weapons such as batons and pepper spray to deal with them 
  • Channel island has no cars and sets own laws based on Norman legal traditions  

Police say a tiny British island is ‘awash’ with criminals and are demanding pepper spray to deal with suspects including drink-drivers – even though cars are banned.

PC Mike Fawson says the idyllic Channel island of Sark is over-run with offenders, and officers need weapons including batons to deal with them.

Sark – whose population is just 500 and which has an area of just two square miles – sets its own laws based on Norman legal traditions.

Police in Sark say they are facing a crime wave – including from drink drivers, even though cars are banned. Tractors can be used by otherwise they have to use a horse and cart 

But its outgoing top policeman says its small force of officers is struggling to cope with the number of criminals blighting island-life.

He says offences range from drug trafficking, alcohol-fuelled violence and intoxicated driving.

Cars are banned on Sark, meaning drunken motorists must drive tractors, horse and carts, bicycles or battery-powered buggies for elderly or disabled people.

The officer has now completed his year in the post and is moving on and is calling for cops to be given spray and batons for ‘self-protection’ and the protection of the public.

In his report to Sark’s Chief Pleas government, PC Fawson put forward a number of suggestions, including making people coming to the island being forced to undergo background checks.

The island is a paradise for cyclists and hikers because of the lack of cars – but PC Mike Fawson says it also has a crime problem 

Sark – whose population is just 500 and which has an area of just two square miles and is just off the French coast – sets its own laws based on Norman legal traditions

He wrote: ‘Possibly all externally recruited seasonal employees should by law be made to have a DBS vetting check performed on them before they are employed on Sark.

‘Additionally anyone wishing to live on Sark should be made to have a criminal records check.

Revealed: The 267 reported crimes up to the end of September 

There were 267 incidents in PC Fawson’s year in charge up to the end of September.

This included 15 tractor driving complaints, 45 complaints about tractor usage out of hours, eight carriage usage issues, three boat issues and 11 of wasting police time.

The force has also dealt with one knife crime, one firearms incident and 11 assaults.

There were eight dog complaints, two biting incidents and four calls about suspicious behaviour.

The team were also called to five incidents of drunken behaviour, six criminal damage and 17 safeguarding incidents.

Three drone incidents were recorded and three missing person probes were carried out.

In addition there were five ‘equine issues,’ six domestic incidents, one arson call and one for narcotics.

There were also three cyber crimes, two unexploded bombs and one illegal immigrant. 

‘Sark in the past (and current) has been awash with people who have various criminal convictions, which in many cases we have no knowledge of until another offence is committed.’

PC Fawson also said he backs the long-mooted idea of having some form of permanent customs and immigration officer presence at Maseline and Creux harbours on the island.

He added: ‘Currently there is no way of detecting/preventing illegal narcotics or other illegal goods entering Sark on passengers coming off vessels entering the Sark harbours or from any other points of entry to Sark.’

PC Fawson went on to calls for the island’s two senior officers, and its team of special constables and custody officers, to be given weapons.

‘There are many incidents that we cannot lawfully do anything about as we do not have the appropriate tools and laws at our disposal to deal with them, such as speeding, intoxicated driving,’ he said.

‘All Sark special constables and custody officers should be fully trained with and equipped with batons and Pava spray for self-protection and protection of the general public.’

He also recommended that Sark police should be provided with ‘the tools to enforce the laws’, citing a hand-held speed radar measuring device and alcohol/drug breath/saliva test kits as examples.

PC Fawson separately expressed concerns about excessive alcohol consumption, under-age drinking and mental health issues and said that CCTV cameras should be installed at a number of points around the island. 

An unpaved street with horses and carriages in The Village, in the centre of the island of Sark 

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