Vmcott CEO tells police treat new vehicles as your own

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Some of the new vehicles procured by Vmcott for the police service. – Angelo Marcelle

At the handing over of 31 new vehicles to the police service by the Vehicle Management Corporation of TT (Vmcott), police officers were called upon to treat the vehicles as they would their own.

Vmcott’s chief executive officer Natasha Prince made the call on Thursday at the company’s Beetham, Port of Spain compound. The vehicles were the first batch of 70 sport utility vehicles and ten pick-ups.

Prince said Vmcott is working with the police to develop standard operating procedures to help the officers maintain the vehicles before the need for maintenance or breakdown.

“Simple checks – checking fluids on mornings, observing…you seeing some liquid on the ground, you know something’s wrong. Too many times we have seen our taxpayers’ money going towards maintenance, and maintenance costs were too high. It can be managed. We have to do our part and we have to take ownership of these vehicles. Treat these units like they are your units.”

She said soon the police and all state agencies will be using electric vehicles which will reduce the maintenance cost significantly.

During the police weekly media briefing some hours before the handing over, head of the Traffic and Highway Patrol Snr Supt Wayne Mystar said the maintenance of vehicles was a top priority for the police. He said the fleet management unit will be responsible for the upkeep of police vehicles.

In response to questions from the media, acting Police Commissioner Mc Donald Jacob said the police service has a standing order which deals with the maintenance of its vehicles.

Acting Commissioner of Police Mc Donald Jacob and Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds, greet each other at the ceremony to hand over new vehicles given to the police service at Vmcott, Beetham, Port of Spain on Thursday. – Angelo Marcelle

“If any time those things are violated, we have the police service regulations where persons can be taken before a tribunal and they can in fact be fined. In addition to that, there are instances where if they’re using the vehicles recklessly, we will stop them from driving police vehicles and they will also be sent to our driving school in order for them to go through that remedial work as drivers before they get permission to drive police vehicles again.”

Jacob said, with their fleet-management and maintenance policies past indiscretions of police driving vehicles with ticketable infractions will no longer happen.

During his address, Jacob said some of the vehicles will be given to the traffic branch as members recently underwent retraining to do more than address road violations. He said this training saw officers finding guns and other illegal items.

He said with the majority of the road fatalities happening on secondary roads, the unit will expand, in some cases, beyond the highways to help keep the road deaths as low as possible.

National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds also encouraged the police not to abuse the vehicles and not to use them to commit crimes. He said the country received “bang for its buck” with Vmcott acquiring the vehicles at $18.4 million when the original cost was $22 million.