Earlier this year, HRH The Duke of Kent visited the island of Jersey to commemorate the liberation of the islanders from the German occupation forces in 1945.
The hospitality of the Governor of Jersey was at his disposal and it fell to the honorary police force – the ‘centeniers’ – to assist in his protection at Government House in the Parish of St. Saviour, covering continuous duties for 48 hours.
The Duke was representing the Queen, but the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England was being guarded by three fellow Masons, all centeniers.
The role of the centeniers is a long and honourable one, having been mentioned in 1502. The force provides support to the States Police, yet the centenier has greater powers, in that only they can charge an accused and bring them to court.
They, along with their vingteniers and constables, are the front line to the community, and it is the centenier who acts as parish magistrate, offering words of advice and issuing cautions, fines and eventually prosecutions.
The centeniers have carried out such functions recently as protection to the Queen, Prince Charles, the Princess Royal and regular Government House community functions, which are all part of their responsibilities.
In 2003, the greatest honour bestowed on the honorary police was to receive the Queen’s Jubilee Award for the vital role of voluntary service within the community.
For further details go to www.jerseyhonorarypolice.org and the Jersey Masonic website at www.jerseymason.org.uk and learn of the many years of service given by the local masonic community, its charitable work and history, which includes the sacking of the island’s temple by German forces during the Second World War.