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The parish of Saint Lawrence is located in the centre of the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands with the southern border on the coast of Saint Aubin’s Bay. It is one of twelve parishes in the Bailiwick of Jersey. The parish is divided into five vingtaines, or subdivisions, for admirative purposes. Saint Lawrence’s vingtaines are: La Vingtaine de la Vallée, La Vingtaine du Coin Hâtain, La Vingtaine du Coin Motier, La Vingtaine du Coin Tourgis Nord, and La Vingtaine du Coin Tourgis Sud.

Like all parishes of Jersey, Saint Lawrence has an Honorary Police force. Honorary Police officers are traditional and unique to Jersey. They have been in existence in Jersey since 1204.

Honorary Police officers, who are not paid, are elected by the voters of their parish. There are three ranks within the Honorary Police. The Centenier, or senior member of the Honorary Police are elected at a public parish election and serve three-year terms. He is the prosecuting officer before the Magistrate’s Court and presides over the Parish Hall Enquiry, which for more than 800 years has been the informal path to dealing with juveniles and with minor criminal behaviour. The Centenier is and always has been the only officer with the power to charge offenders.

The Vingtenier, one rank below the Centenier, is elected by a Parish Assembly for a three-year term for a specific vingtaine. The Vingtnier practices general community policing in the parish and carries out administrative duties within their own vingtaine. The third and lowest rank of the Honorary Police is the Constable Officer. They are elected as well and, while they must be residents of the parish in which they were elected, they need not live in the vingtaine in which they were elected.

Until the 1800s, the Honorary Police were the only civilian law enforcement in Jersey, but in the early part of the 19th century, crime was so out of control that the Honorary Police could not contain it all. In 1853, Saint Helier Parish appointed paid police officers to be the States of Jersey Police too help keep the peace. The States of Jersey Police, however, have never had the power to charge anyone with a crime or offense, as such charges must be brought by the Centenier of the parish where the crime was committed.



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