Mon | Aug 20, 2018

Cop-car concerns to 'come to an end' - Montague declares mobility issues soon to go, but commish warns 70 vehicles a drop in the bucket

Published:Wednesday | December 20, 2017 | 12:00 AMJason Cross
Minister of National Security Robert Montague inspects one of 70 new police vehicles which were handed over to various divisions of the Jamaica Constabulary Force at the Office of the Police Commissioner in St Andrew.
One of the used cars purchased for the Jamaica Constabulary Force, a Toyota Corolla Axio.
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National Security Minister Robert Montague has declared that the mobility concerns of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) will soon be a thing of the past, even as Police Commissioner George Quallo cautioned that the latest handover of vehicles was "a drop in the bucket".

Yesterday, 70 new and pre-owned vehicles purchased by the Ministry of National Security with funds secured through the first phase of the recent traffic ticket amnesty were handed over at the Office of the Police Commissioner in St Andrew.

"This argument about a lack of motor vehicles and mobility will come to an end, because we would have been very clear and deliberate in how we proceed to get mobility for the police force. There are 97 vehicles, but (here today) there are 70. One supplier, who had difficulty clearing some of the units from the bond store, should deliver later (yesterday evening or today)," Montague said.

"We have the other vehicles parked away from here because they are to be assigned to the intelligence units and ought not to be placed in the public space, based on the type of work they will be doing."

But just before Montague's comments, Quallo had indicated that while appreciative of the 70 vehicles, the force was in need of far more.

"While, Minister, we say thanks, it is a drop in the bucket. We can't sugarcoat it. Every divisional area officer will tell you of the challenge we face."

He added: "Just a couple days ago, I saw where a policeman wept because he could not respond to the cries of the citizens."

In his presentation, Montague highlighted that quite a number of motorcycles will also be made available to the traffic police and those responsible for tackling praedial larceny.

"We were very careful in the selection of the suppliers, and what we did was use the proceeds from the traffic ticketing amnesty to underwrite this bill of approximately $195 million, and it is a mixture of pre-owned and new vehicles," he said.

"We canvassed those dealers who were National Contracts Commission registered and tax compliant, because you ought to spend taxpayers money with someone who is also a taxpayer."

He added: "There are going to be four bikes that will be handed over to the traffic unit. Come February next year, a shipment of 43 (700cc) bikes will be handed over to the traffic department. These bikes have been ordered already and the dealer is preparing to have them shipped to Jamaica. Each police division will get two, to assist with traffic. Montego Bay will get three and the rest will stay in the Corporate Area. The ministry has also placed an order for some 90 (250) trail bikes to be handed over to the praedial larceny unit."

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com