The Island of Jersey is split up into twelve parishes.
The areas are not simply ecclesiastical divisions – although there is a parish church in each of the parishes – but civil divisions. An Assembly of Principles governs each of the parishes, and consists of rate paying parishioners who own property over a certain value. The Assembly is presided over by the Rector for ecclesiastical matters, and the Connetable for civil issues.
There is also a structure of honorary officials in each parish, called the Honorary Police. They are unpaid and non-uniformed, and people elected to these offices (Of Connetables, Centeniers, Vingteniers and Constable’s Officers) serve a three year term. The Honorary Police have the powers of arrest, search and investigation within their parish.
Parish revenues are largely procured through the collection of rates on property. The parishes are not responsible for areas of large expenditure, such as health, education or public works – those areas are cared for by the States of Jersey – but they do have to organise welfare and benefits for their parishioners.
Most of the parishes have villages, centred around the church, school and parish hall. All the churches have a perquage path, which leads to the sea (all parishes touch the sea at some point around the coast) in order that, in the past, criminals would have a means of escape from the Island.