With more than half the stock of vehicles in the Jamaica Constabulary Force being between seven and 10 years old, Police Commissioner Lucius Thomas has cautioned the nation that with such a fleet, the police are severely hampered in their crime-fighting efforts.
“Sixty per cent or 1,200 of our fleet of vehicles are more than seven years old,” the police commissioner told The Gleaner.
In October 1999, the Government had proposed to spend $100 million on new vehicles for the police force. Up to 1994, the JCF had acquired 736 new units to bring its fleet to more than 1,500, but since then the number has dwindled considerably.
“I know that this is the time of year when we all have a wish list and it is no secret that at the top of our wish list is the need for greater mobility,” Commissioner Thomas told a group of Rotarians, during a function at the EdenGardens Restaurant in St. Andrew, last night.
The commissioner pointed out that criminals have become itinerant and are moving across the country with ease, perpetrating their evil deeds.
“Yet, we the police are hampered by this lack of mobility to effectively take charge and command of our roads. Already we are down to a bare minimum and there is an urgent need for an injection of new and reliable vehicles in the JCF,” said Mr. Thomas.
The commissioner stressed that by effectively policing the roads, the police can further disrupt not only the movement of criminals from one area to the next, but also their ability to commit crime, regroup and continue their evil pursuits.
“With greater mobility, calls to, for example 119 or any of our designated secure lines or police stations would see a quicker response. This is what we want to achieve,” said Mr. Thomas.
He said another area where resources are urgently needed is manpower development.
Pointing out some of his achievements so far this year, the commissioner said the police have made some gains that should be recognised and encouraged. Topping these gains is the reduction in the number of murders, down by 21 per cent from last year, when nearly 1,700 Jamaicans were brutally cut down.
“These gains, however, tell me, and should tell all Jamaica, that the fight against crime and violence is one in which we can prevail and will prevail,” Mr. Thomas assured the nation.