Categorized | National News

Police Audit Suggests Automation Needs

The Office of The Auditor General yesterday released a report on the accounts of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) which pointed to a need for automating the forces procedures. 

General comments indicated that legislation surrounding the operation of government funds and the RBPF are “fragmented across a number of legislative acts, and in certain instances, may be considered vague as it relates to these operation’s details.”

It also suggested that various officer roles within financial services be considered for job rotation to reduce the risk of employee fraud.

The report found that some officers failed to log their time during shifts to indicate whether minimum required hours or overtime hours were manned.

Officers are compensated 173.4 hours a month regardless of hours worked. 

The report explained that leading practice and RBPF protocol indicates that employees should be compensated for hours worked as set out in both the employment enlistment papers and Chapter 321 A of The Employment Act of The Bahamas 2002. 

The report recommended using automated sign-in mechanisms in an effort to accurately indicate hours worked. 

Management said, “Commanding officers at all stations, divisions, or departments have the responsibility of ensuring their officers sign in and out daily on the register provided.”

Management added that “officers are compensated with extra days added to their vacation.”

The report also found inadequate monitoring of reservist hours. 

In fact, their hours were also managed manually with sign in sheets, signed off by the supervising superior on a weekly basis. 

To this, the report recommended automating that process as well. 

Meantime,that report also  found that the force has weak asset protection, namely the operation of its University Drive garage, which it said did not have effective authorization and review policies and procedures in place to properly maintain and track vehicles in use or in need of repairs. 

The garage’s vehicle logs are maintained by identifying all active vehicles by year, make, plate and VIN numbers, and the officer/station of which the vehicle has been allocated. 

This, however, is updated on an annual basis. 

The report also recommended an increased automation for timelier updating, tracking, and maintenance of vehicles. 

Management assured that fleet management software was set to be implemented on July 1. 

This, they said, will allow more timely updates, tracking, and maintenance of vehicles by the force’s garage section.  

The report also pointed out that there were also instances where the Auditor General’s Office did not receive supporting documentation. 

Auditors indicated that they tested a sample of 25 payments made across five selected vendors to which they noted there were 11 instances where no documentation was provided to substantiate the expense or evidence supporting approval, two instances where invoices were provided, but lacked approval and one instance where approval was provided but an invoice was not.

Among the 11 instances lacking supporting documentation, the report noted that a vendor was the police sports and welfare fund with unsupported reimbursement cheque descriptions like “Compensation for Loss, Injury”, “Transportation Equipment Upkeep”, “Police Building – Headquarters”, “Rent- Living Accommodation”. 

Section Six of The Bahamas Government Accounting Procedural Manual stated that the payment of expenses requires the approval of the commissioner of police along with supporting documentation. 

The recommendations to this are that all expenses are filed with supporting documentation and approvals, and reviewed by an officer in charge.

Management indicated that additional staff was transferred to financial services. This, management said, will assist with the proper securing of supporting documentation and approvals of all disbursements. 

Written by Jones Bahamas

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