Tyrone Reid, Senior Staff Reporter
The Police High Command has spent close to $400 million dollars repairing vehicles at private garages over the past 18 months, but the force is not saying who owns these garages or where they are located.
According to Angela Patterson, the civilian director in charge of the police force's corporate services unit, for security reasons, details on the garages could not be released.
"As stated, we would wish to not divulge the names of the contracted garages at this time because the threat assessment at this time is high," said Patterson.
"As soon as this condition abates, we will be happy to provide that information," added Patterson.
Initially, Patterson had told our news team that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has contracts with several qualified private garages but would not divulge the names because she did "not want to expose these entities to undue scrutiny from criminal elements".
Patterson said the private garages were selected through a rigorous tender process and where vetted and approved by the National Contracts Commission (NCC).
She also pointed out that all the garages are registered with the NCC and must remain tax compliant.
In the meantime, Assistant Commissioner of Police Leon Rose, who is in charge of the Services Branch, told The Sunday Gleaner that the force has to outsource some of the repair work because of the sheer volume of vehicles that need to be fixed.
Rose said while the Transport and Repairs Division (T&R) is the main garage for the force it is unable to do all the work.
"It (T&R) is responsible for the maintenance of all police vehicles (but) because of the number of vehicles in the fleet, coupled with the types of vehicles, it is necessary from time to time that a number of vehicles are outsourced to authorised garages," said Rose.
The force now operates with a banged-up motor vehicle fleet that stood at approximately 1,800 two months ago. At that time, approximately 1,300 vehicles were operational.
Data provided by the JCF's Corporate Services unit showed that in addition to the $400 million paid to private garages, approximately $530 million was spent over the same 18-month period to operate the T&R.
According to the 2012-2013 Estimates of Expenditure, $413 million is allocated to T&R for recurrent expenditure this year.
That allocation includes compensation to employees, the purchase of equipment and other expenditure covering "the servicing, maintenance and repairs of the department's fleet of motor vehicles, motorcycles and boats".