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Repairs to police-car software takes on average 75 days instead of contracted 48 hours

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The audit office has found that it takes on average 75 days for repairs of equipment and software in police vehicle tracking systems instead of the 48 hours it is supposed to take under contract, it emerged on Monday.

The audit office also found that some officers violate the law as regards the use of police cars by taking them home.

In a report published on Monday, the audit office said it had carried out an audit on the police vehicle location system, as well as on compliance by members of the force with the provisions of the laws and regulations concerning the use of official state vehicles in the wider public sector.

It emerged that the contractor took on average 75 days to repair equipment or software systems instead of the 48 hours provided for in the contract.

“Some functions/applications of the system do not meet the respective technical requirements/specifications set by the police,” the report said.

But the audit office said they also discovered discrepancies as regards the use of service vehicles by police officers. Civil servants are not allowed to use service cars for personal use.

According to the report, 324 of the 412 vehicles on which a tracking device was installed, between April 1, 2019 and June 18, 2019, stopped at addresses corresponding to the addresses of the place of residence of members of the force, and more specifically, the drivers of the vehicles in question.

A random check of the system’s entries concerning 10 cars, “revealed a total of 212 parking incidents within 109 days in addresses that coincided with those where members of the force reside.”

The system recorded that one car had violated the provisions of the law 80 times as regards the use of service vehicles over a period of 92 days.

“On 15 occasions the parking time of official vehicles in addresses that coincide with those where some members of the force reside, exceeded one hour,” the report said.

On one occasion, an official vehicle was found parked at an address, which coincides with the residence address of a constable, for a continuous period of 5 hours and 46 minutes, it said.

As regards the obligations of the contractor who that provided the equipment and installed the tracking system, the report said that police have not evoked the contractor’s obligation as per the provisions of the contract, for the replacement of any defective equipment until its repair.

At the same time, the contractor has not implemented any upgrade of the software system, in violation of the terms of the contract.

The fact that the contractor has not complied with their contractual obligations makes it impossible to check the quality or the soundness of their services, the audit office said.

According to the report the audit also found that a number of new vehicle tracking devices remain unused in stock, despite the confirmed need to install them in additional cars within the police fleet. “Of all the portable devices for locating vehicles and persons, 38 per cent have never been used, remaining in stock,” the audit office said.

It added that other devices remain installed for a long period of time on vehicles that have already been immobilised or are intended for sale, without any action being taken to install them in other cars.

In total 49 of the 50 navigation devices installed in police cars presented some problem while 48 per cent of those remained out of order two weeks after the problem occurred.

The system software showed there were 15 technical problems within a period of three months that shut down the main server, resulting in the loss of the entire system islandwide, the report said.

But the findings also pointed out that only in 17 per cent of cases where damage to equipment occurred, did anyone ask for repairs.

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