Auditor General, Pamela Munroe Ellis says the Jamaica Constabulary Force, the JCF, has been engaging in significant spending practices which do not meet important principles of fairness, competition and transparency.

Mrs. Munroe Ellis disclosed the finding in a JCF performance audit report which was tabled in the House of Representatives yesterday.

Neika Lewis reports.

According to the Auditor General, various expenditures by the JCF on fuel, food and facility repairs did not meet required standards.

The audit reviewed the period between the 2013/2014 and 2017/2018 fiscal years.

The Auditor General criticized the JCF for not always getting the best price for goods and services purchased.

According to the Auditor General, the JCF routinely ignored the competitive bidding process and opted, in most cases, for the direct or emergency contracting method.

The Auditor General says the JCF used the emergency, direct emergency and direct contracting methodologies for almost 2-billion dollars or 81 per cent of contracts during the period reviewed.

The contracts were entered into in order to carry out maintenance of the JCF facilities, purchase meals for detainees and procure uniforms for members of the police force.

The Auditor General says the JCF has significant room for improved efficiencies and economy.

Mrs. Munroe Ellis also says the JCF failed to establish clear linkages between the annual operational targets and related procurement activities.

She says this apparent disconnect between the annual operational and procurement plans, limited the JCF’s ability to schedule the acquisition of goods and services on a timely basis to achieve value for money spent.

According to Mrs. Munroe Ellis, consequently, her department was unable to determine how the JCF assessed its performance relative to target or allocated budgetary resources.

The Auditor General says for example, whereas JCF targeted the recruitment of 8-hundred-and-28 additional police personnel for 2015-16, its procurement plans did not reflect the additional uniforms that would be required for new recruits.

Additionally, the Auditor General says the JCF failed to maintain a facilities maintenance register, to include at minimum, details of the physical condition, functionality and cost requirement, for the maintenance and repair of police stations.

Mrs. Munroe Ellis says without this knowledge, the JCF was unable to develop a structured routine work-plan for its construction and repairs programme.

She says such a routine is an essential first step in attaining the correct balance between preventative and emergency corrective actions, to ensure an efficient and cost-effective maintenance programme.

Meantime, the Auditor General commended the police for implementing measures that resulted in a gradual reduction in the amount of fuel purchased.

Mrs. Munroe Ellis says given the size of its fleet, the nature and extent of its operations, JCF recognized the need to heighten controls over vehicles and fuel usage and monitoring.

The Auditor General says accordingly, the JCF implemented four cost savings mechanisms.

These included a daily re-fuelling limit for each service vehicle, monitoring fuel purchases for each vehicle by comparing volumes purchased against the vehicle’s tank capacity and reconciliation of re-fuelling transaction receipts with the Jamaica Automobile
Association system.

The JCF also assigned fuel baseline efficiency ratios for different types of vehicles within its fleet, to provide an awareness of vehicles operational efficiency.

Mrs. Munroe Ellis says since the introduction of the daily re-fuelling limit in July 2011, the JCF has experienced a gradual declining trend in the volume of retail fuel purchased.

The Auditor General says the amount of fuel purchased moved to 6-point-4-million litres in 2017-18 from 7-point-7 million litres in 2013.