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The Government has been working on a strategic fleet procurement and maintenance policy, to prolong the life of the vehicles deployed to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), National Security Minister, Hon. Peter Bunting, has informed.

The policy, being formulated jointly with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), deals with the rationalisation of a wide variety of vehicles in terms of make and models, and seeks to simplify the work of the JCF’s Transportation and Repair division, in relation to the stocking of spare parts and  tools, the Minister said.

“I think we have made tremendous headway in streamlining…(with) the turning over of 37 to 40 vehicles per day, which is a substantial improvement on what was happening previously,” he said.

The Minister was speaking at a ceremony to hand over 75 pickup vans at the Commissioner’s Old Hope Road offices, in Kingston, on October 26.

Mr. Bunting, who handed over the vehicles to Police Commissioner, Owen Ellington, said they are the first of two batches to be presented to the JCF over the next few weeks, with an additional 15 cars and 44 motor cycles to be handed over in November.

He said the procurement of this first set of vehicles “is one of the finest demonstrations” of a joined-up Government approach with several Ministries diverting funds to purchase the vans.

“What we were able to do is to get some help from (the Ministry of) Finance and Planning,  the Tourism (and Entertainment Ministry), through the Tourism Enhancement Fund and from the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, which agreed to re-allocate some of the funds previously allocated in their budget,” Mr. Bunting said.

He said the Ministry was happy for the first commitment of $250 million for the purchase of  the vehicles, “and we are expecting another $250 million before the end of the fiscal year.”  

The Minister further informed that many of the vehicles had already been deployed, in order to increase the presence and visibility of the police on the road before, during and after the passage of Hurricane Sandy.

He acknowledged “the tremendous effort that the men and women of the JCF and the Island Special Constabulary Force (ISCF) and the JDF have been putting out over the last 96 hours or so, patrolling almost non-stop in an environment where their own lives would have been at risk in the teeth of the hurricane, and ensuring that loss of life, damage to property, and all the risks of a disaster were minimised.”

For his part, Commissioner Ellington said the vehicles will greatly assist with the mobility of the JCF, and implored police personnel to ensure they take care of the vehicles.

“For those of us who will operate these vehicles, you have an obligation to demonstrate to the Government and to the taxpayers of this country that you appreciate the investments made in acquiring these vehicles, that you appreciate that they add value to the work that you do, and that you will demonstrate it by the careful handling, safe use and the way in which you care for these vehicles,” he said.

The Commissioner informed that there is a plan to use the JCF’s communications system, through police control, “to constantly remind the men and women (about) the safe driving practice, remaining within the speed limit, to resist any temptation to engage in high speed chases, and to ensure that the vehicles are pulled out of service when required for preventive maintenance and servicing.”