The Jamaica Constabulary Force has cleared, for the scrap metal trade, 30 tonnes of old vehicles from its Elletson Road, Kingston office. That is only the beginning of an extensive clean-up campaign, started last Thursday, of unclaimed derelict vehicles that have been an eyesore and occupying precious space at police stations across the island for over 20 years.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Leon Rose, head of the services branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, told The Gleaner that they were given orders by the Ministry of National Security that steps should be taken to rid all police stations and formations (non-divisional units) of the wreckage.
"Being carried out under the Jamaica Constabulary Force Act and authorised by the commissioner of police, the clean-up exercise will be in two phases. First, vehicles that are so deteriorated they can only be disposed of as scrap metal will be sold in a closed auction to Factories Corporation of Jamaica, the sole bidder," said Rose.
"Second, vehicles that can be restored for commercial or personal use will be sold through public auction. The auctions have already been advertised in the media."
Hoping for benefits to cops
The exercise will not necessarily make the police any richer. Rose said that because it is a government initiative, the earnings would go to the Consolidated Fund. However, he is hoping that at the end of the day there would be some real benefits to the police force. At this early stage, they are yet to determine how much income it will generate.
Rose said the vehicles came into police custody through a number of means, including recovery during a police operation, stolen vehicles that owners have not claimed, those seized for breaches of the Road Traffic Act, some involved in court cases and others that were involved in accidents.
"It's an ongoing exercise which started at the Elletson Road location where, thus far, we have cleared 30 tonnes of wreckage alone and we are still not finished there," Rose stated.
"We believe that at the end of it, it will make the police stations and formations far more attractive; reduce the health risk, because these derelicts are a prime breeding ground for rodents, mosquitoes and other pests; as well as reduce the security risk. So we intend to carry on this process until all stations and formations have been cleared."