A stern warning has been issued by Acting Commissioner of Police, Winston James to his men and women in uniform over the use of a fleet of vehicles assigned to the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF).
Acting Commissioner James who was speaking at a ceremony for the handing over of the vehicles at the Special Services Unit (SSU) at Point Salines, said that the care and maintenance of the fleet are of paramount importance to each and every member of the force.
He warned that strict measures will be implemented to ensure that the vehicles are always cared for and serviced.
The Acting Commissioner advised his subordinates that Chapter 13 of the RGPF Standing Orders will be invoked if the vehicles are treated recklessly.
Chapter 13 addresses the standard of driving, use of police vehicles, responsibility for the vehicles, and the responsibility of drivers.
The island’s Chief Cop stated that failure to adhere to Chapter 13 of the Standing Orders will result in appropriate disciplinary action being taken.
James reminded police officers that the law does not give any one of them the right to exceed the speed limit, except in cases of extreme emergency.
“So if you feel that you can take the vehicle and go on your joy ride… and damage it, and bring it back in the station without reporting, we would take steps to deal with that,” he said.
The Chief cop noted that the addition of the vehicles to the ageing fleet is a welcome sight to all members of RGPF and that everyone must play their part in caring and maintaining the new vehicles.
The fleet of 14 vehicles, costing EC$300,000.00, were presented to the force by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell as part of efforts to beef up the island’s security system.
RGPF is also in receipt of a Police Mobile Command Centre Vehicle, which came as a donation from Japan.
The vehicle would be used at various activities held on the island.
The Hermitage Police Station in St. Patrick’s, the Birchgrove Police Station, and the Union Police Station in St. Mark’s will each be assigned one vehicle.
Various Divisions and Branches of the force will also receive vehicles.
Acting Commissioner James told the Officers in Charge of those Divisions that they have the responsibility to ensure that the vehicles are properly maintained and cared for.
In handing over the keys to Acting Commissioner James, the Prime Minister admonished the force to ensure that the vehicles are appropriately utilised.
Dr. Mitchell made reference to concerns coming from the general public that when a call is made for service from RGPF they are often told that they have no vehicle as someone takes it to conduct private business.
“It (the vehicle) must be used, first and foremost, for the services of the police force,” he said.
Prime Minister Mitchell made a plea for the vehicles to be used properly and that the destruction of the vehicles is something that cannot be tolerated.
He said that systems must be put in place for disciplinary action to be taken against those who in a very irresponsible way destroy the resources of the country.
“So I urge that some systems be put in place to ensure that people are held responsible for any action,” he added.
Dr. Mitchell pointed out that the demand for equipment and vehicles throughout the government service has always been a problem in different ministries.
He said while RGPF is a unique element of the governance system in the country, there still has to be concern with respect to the implications of satisfying the needs of just one area of the government, and not other areas of essential services in the country.
However, the Prime Minister believes that the provision of the fleet of vehicles to RGPF will yield some improvement in the services delivered to the public.
Dr. Mitchell who serves as the country’s Minister of Finance, disclosed that his government is experiencing improvement in the fiscal situation in the country and was able to make good on the delivery of the much-needed vehicles for the force.
He said when sacrifice is made and the economic prospects of the country are improved, different services can be delivered and improved.
“The ability of the government to effect the request made this time was… based on the improving economic and fiscal situation in the country,” he told the assembled police officers.
As Minister of National Security, Dr. Mitchell underscored the importance of providing the security forces of the country with the relevant equipment to facilitate their work.
“If a country is not secured, then everything else would be in problems, and that’s why we keep impressing on our Police Officers, the leadership and the members of the force that they have to set the tone in what happens in this country,” he said.
The National Security Minister believes the more professional and the more equipped the police force becomes, the better the country will be, adding that there will be more improvement and progress in the country.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Michael Francois who chaired the ceremony that lasted just under 30 minutes believes that the presentation of the vehicles is both historic and timely for the police force.
ACP Francois said it has been a very long time that the force has not received such a large quantity of vehicles at any one time.
He said now that the country is into the 2016 Carnival Season, a greater demand is placed on RGPF to be mobile in assisting with operational activities.