Police's $700,000 uniform budget overstretched
An annual budget allocation of nearly $700,000 for new uniforms for nearly 700 Police Officers is not enough to cover the bill, the Police Commissioner says.
“The nature of our work is rigorous and therefore we need good quality Police [uniforms] and the uniform we have now it's quality is not up to par," said the Commissioner of Police Fuiavaili’ili Egon Keil.
"[A] good quality comes at a cost and the budget allocated for this is not enough; however we make use of what we have.”
In their budget for the current financial year, a total of $690,000 is allocated for new Police uniforms; the amount has remained the same in recent years.
But Police had blamed red tape for preventing them from using their uniform budget during the 2018 Financial Year; their annual report showed that they had only spent about 12 per cent of it, or a little less than $80,000.
“Low utilisation is a result of the delay in the tender process of the new issue [uniforms]," the report read.
“The Ministry began preparation for the uniform tender from September.
"However the lengthy process of tender documents approval with the Office of the Attorney General, including a new template being introduced late in the process contributed to the delay.
“Fortunately with Treasury’s agreement remaining funds for uniforms in FY2017/2018 were transferred into a Special Purpose account to be utilised to pay for the new supply of uniform already in motion for delivery in FY 2018/2019.
“Thus the ministry did not lose the remaining funds as these were rolled over from FY2017/2018 to FY2018/2019 to pay for uniforms in addition to the new FY 2018/2019 uniform budget allocation."
The Commissioner told the Samoa Observer they will issue a tender for the uniform for Police Officers serving locally and overseas.
“Despite how costly [it is], we need [a] good quality uniform; the ones that don’t fade after washing a certain number of times; [that don't rip] on the first few months or [with] shoes that [are] broke after two or three months; and while we consider the cheapest or the best price; we also look at the quality and that’s important,” he said. .
Uniforms consist of a hat, shirt, lavalava and shoes, the Commissioner said.