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Counting cop cars

Balford Henry

Friday, November 30, 2012    

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PAMELA Monroe Ellis, auditor general (AG), wants the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to conduct a comprehensive review of all its vehicles to determine its fleet size.

She made the recommendation in a Performance Audit Report on the Ministry of National Security's management of police motor vehicles, tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.

"(JCF) should ensure that the inventory records are consistent with the information on the related motor vehicle title and correctly reflect the status of all its vehicles," she argued, pointing to the need to ensure that the database remains accurate and reliable through constant updating.

In her report, the AG found that the JCF does not maintain a standardised motor vehicle fleet, and procurement decisions were generally guided by suppliers' ability to meet immediate demand rather than specifications.

"We found that the decision to procure vehicles on an emergency basis was one of the main contributing factors that resulted in the varying composition of the fleet," Monroe Ellis said.

Between 2009 and 2012, successive governments provided only 25 per cent of the funding needed to bring the fleet up to date. The results included the retention of 277 vehicles deemed uneconomical to maintain, and an increased effort to get private sector support for beefing up mobility.

The aged fleet's retention contributed to high fuel consumption and a widening variety of makes of cars from donors, depleted funds that could have been used to purchase more vehicles and increasing problems in accessing parts for the vehicles.

"We compared the fuel efficiency of a sample of these vehicles with other vehicles, with the same year in the fleet, and found that these vehicles consumed at least 40 per cent more fuel," the report said.

"In June, 2011 JCF accepted 21 donated vehicles ranging from eight years to 11 years. However, as at September 19, 2012, 13 of the 21 (donated) vehicles were out of service due to various mechanical defects," she said.

The JCF received 21 new patrol vehicles from Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL) in mid-2011, but it was not confirmed if these were the 21 vehicles referred to.

The approximately 1,800 vehicles listed in the JCF fleet (motor cars, buses and vans) consisted of 26 different makes of various models and manufacturing dates ranging from 1987 to 2012.

These included: 1,068 Toyotas; 304 Suzukis; 119 Mitsubishis; 86 Nissans; 75 Fords; 31 Hondas; 31 Volkswagens; 14 Chevrolets' 12 Macks; 11 Isuzus; eight Daihatsus; and six Caterpillars. The rest included Mazda (4), Hino(3), Mercedes-Benz (3), Land Rover (3), BMW (1), and Armoured (1).

However, the JCF says it recognises the economy and efficiencies in standardising its fleet and wants to confine its future acquisition to three or five manufacturers' brands.

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