An audit of the management of police vehicles has shown that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) averaged one accident per week for the period 2007 to 2011.
The Auditor General's Department, which carried out the audit, said the force could not provide information on the total number of accidents involving its vehicles for the period under review.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force Order 3357, dated October 6, 2011, requires police officers to provide a written report within 24 hours, outlining details of each accident, including fatalities and injuries.
Despite its failed efforts to obtain the total number of accidents for the five-year period, the AGD "gleaned from documents at the JCF's Kingston garage and compulsory accident reports submitted to its office" that 276 JCF vehicles were involved in accidents. This averaged approximately one accident per week.
The audit revealed that the JCF incurred a cost of $12.3 million to repair 211 vehicles.
According to the report, 182 vehicles repaired by JCF garages cost $6.1 million, while the 29 repaired by private garages cost $6.2 million.
However, the police told the AGD that private garages were used because JCF garages did not have the expertise and equipment needed to do the repair work.
The Pamela Monroe Ellis-led AGD had commissioned the audit to determine the efficiency and effectiveness of the JCF's fleet-management processes.
In her findings, the auditor general highlighted operational weaknesses, which she said impaired the force's ability to ensure the delivery of reliable law-enforcement services to the people of Jamaica.
Monroe Ellis also identified weak oversight of the repair and maintenance activity and control over new and used parts resulting in inefficiencies. She added that this could also facilitate irregularities.
However, the auditor general reported that certain information was removed from her final report following an exit interview on November 13, 2012.
"This was in response to the Ministry of National Security's concerns that the publication of this information could possibly compromise the integrity of an ongoing investigation," Monroe Ellis said.
She pointed out that in the interest of the nation's security, and out of an abundance of caution, her department had decided not to include some specific details in the related appendices.
However, she said all information omitted from the report was provided to the ministry and JCF for the necessary follow-up action.