$8M missing in vehicle fees
(CNS): The police commissioner said he believed there was as much as $8 million missing from the public purse in connection with uncollected fees from unlicensed vehicles on the road. David Baines told Finance Committee members last week that now the RCIPS had recruited a significant number of staff to take it beyond just a response capability, he had officers that he could now deploy in proactive work with the DVL staff to begin to address that problem. These high visibility operations had, he said, already boosted numbers at vehicle licensing. He also explained that while the stand-alone traffic department has been merged into normal response, specially trained officers were still working in the RCIPS.
Answering the usual questions from MLAs about the almost $33 million allocation in this year’s budget to the police service, the commissioner spoke about how officers were deployed. He said that prevention was an important part local policing and there was a strategy in place in which the police patrolled and targeted vulnerable and at-risk areas as well as monitoring known offenders. He said that improvements in security in the face of increasing armed robberies would often see offenders changing their actions in response to increased preventative methods employed by business owners as well as police surveillance.
Despite the increase in the police budget, which was mostly down to the boost in numbers throughout the service, the commissioner pointed to cost cutting measures in the service through better management of police marine vessels on patrol and cutting fuel use. He said that the marine fleet had never been as well maintained and ready for use as at present, with just one boat undergoing some minor maintenance.
Although the police helicopter had been under threat of being sold off under a previous budget proposal, there were no specific questions about it being sold from Finance Committee members. Baines told MLAs that the helicopter was capable of flying as far as the US and had been staffed with first responders so it could be used in medical emergencies as well as police matters
The commissioner explained some of the recent changes to the RCIPS and said the Drug Task Force was now part of the Serious Crime and Drugs Task Force, which reflected the changing threat of serious criminality the islands faced recently.
The number of neighbourhood officers was increasing and was up to eleven dedicated officers, Baines said, noting that it was always a battle for the RCIPS to facilitate the advancement, development and specialist training of officers while at the same time filling the neighbourhood beat officer posts.
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