Police selected 24 mechanics they deemed fit to issue warrants before inviting them to attend a training workshop to brush up their skills and become more cohesive as an industry.
The first workshop was held on Thursday at the Trades School in Arorangi, and another will be held next Thursday.
Head of Faculty Alister Anderson says the training is an important part of the police initiative to improve the warrant of fitness regime.
“We’re acting in a supporting role to the initiative by running the workshop for warrant of fitness inspectors who have been nominated by police.”
Automotive tutor Ken Page says an integral part of any change is training, and awareness.
“With any change that comes about, there needs to be more awareness, and awareness in this case comes with training.”
Page says the training is quite a big deal for the school because it is part of the government road safety campaign.
“Prior to this, warrant of fitness standards have been quite varied, and I think the main aim for the training is to have a consistent level of inspection throughout the island.”
Both CITTI and police want to ensure that everyone is inspecting vehicles at the same level and to the same standard.
Page says their job as WOF inspectors is important, because they’re basically acting on behalf of the government.
Therefore, he says it is important that there is regular training, and they are getting it right.
The new WOF regime came into effect in July, following a joint effort by Cook Islands Police and local mechanics to improve vehicle safety.
The new regime aims to standardise the issuing of warrants across the island to ensure everyone is running through the same checklist and inspections.
Following a meeting by police representatives and members of the mechanic community, seven members were nominated to form a new committee in charge of formulating and implementing the new regime.
Police Inspector John Strickland said currently mechanical services in the Cook Islands have been different at each workshop, with no real system in place to ensure vehicles are to the same standard.
To combat this, the committee came up with a set of criteria and fees that each vehicle must meet to get a WOF and it will be the same criteria at every mechanic service.
Strickland said there will be no more lazy checkups and if people aren’t happy with one mechanic, they can no longer go to a different mechanic for an easier check up.
He said the big picture is about safety and standardising everything to make sure that all vehicles are actually road worthy.
There has been some negativity surrounding the changes, but Strickland said the whole thing should just be positive.
“This was long overdue, and it is a positive that this is now in place for the sake of safety,” he says.
CITTI would like to remind readers that the workshop is not open to the public, nor is it a way to become a certified mechanic.
They say it is simply a refresher course for the mechanics already certified by the police.