Abreuvoirs funded by the parish - now listed ancient monuments

Constables too had customary functions which became statutory in the 19th Century but this was in addition to many existing statutory rights and duties under Ordinances of the Royal Court. At the beginning of that century the civil service was virtually non-existent and the Constables had not only their parochial duties but also roles which today are undertaken by salaried civil servants and the police.

150 years ago a Constable’s primary function’s were;
i) investigating civil and criminal offences, maintaining order and making arrests.
ii) enforcing all relevant Ordinances and orders of the Court.
iii) issuing demands for and collecting States property taxes and parish taxes.
iv) performing their duties as the island’s Sanitary Authorities and Inspectors.
v) publishing the required notices and attending Court in connection with parish administration.
vi) issuing various licences.
vii) keeping the parish accounts and presenting them at Parish Assemblies.
viii)calling and chairing meetings of the Douzaine.
ix) keeping the Douzaine’s records including minuting meetings.

The Constables, whose term of office had been reduced from life to three years in 1778 because it was so onerous, were advised in their duties by the Douzaine which acted as a ‘council of elders’. In 1845 an Ordre en Conseil explained;
“The Constables ... as civil ministerial officers in their respective parishes, ... are for various purposes provided with a Council in their Douzaines.”

The high standing of the Constable's office arose from the close links between the office and both the Royal Court and the States. Those links had been weakened in 1844 when the Constables were replaced as the Douzaines representative in the States. They were further eroded by the establishment of an island-wide salaried police force in the 1920s and the rise of a centralised civil service.

Today whilst Constables still retain rights and duties which are not exercised under the direction of the Douzaine eg annually reporting to the Law Officers on the state of the parish's hedges, they also function as 'executive officers' to the Douzaine. This latter role has led to misconceptions regarding the relationship of the Constables to the Douzaines.