Police go hi-tech in bid to upgrade force

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 February, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 February, 1999, 12:00am

The police force will spend $860 million during the next three years upgrading its services and obtaining the best available technologies.

Plans call for patrol officers to be equipped with hand-held computers to handle reports from the public and to process and check relevant data.

A team of consultants has been hired and is working with three local universities to study future computerised communication systems and computer strategies.

The force, which will have an exhibit at the expo, is seeking to enlist 1,- officers and 162 inspectors as part of its recruitment drive.

Speaking at the police recruitment day, Deputy Commissioner of Police (management) Tsang Yam-pui said Hong Kong's crime rate had been falling for the last two years, partly as a result of continuous improvements in the force.

According to police statistics, serious narcotic cases were down 23.5 per cent last year, a key area in the force's goal to reduce drug trafficking and substance abuse.

However, violent crime increased 6.8 per cent and robberies were up 7.7 per cent. Also on the rise were bank robberies, up 10 to 26, and intimidation cases, up 51.2 per cent.

Mr Tsang said the initiative to make greater use of information technology was to cultivate a 'service-oriented' culture.

During a recently-completed year-long pilot project at the North Point police station, equipment was upgrad ed, reporting procedures were simplified and the professional standards of officers raised.

The programme will be extended to the other 74 stations and operational bases during the next three years.

'We hope these changes will help us to attain a high standard of professionalism in formulating future devel opment strategies, planning various improvement projects and managing on a daily basis,' Mr Tsang said.

'We invest heavily in personnel training with a view to equipping senior officers with professional management knowledge and widening their horizons so that they can lead the force into the new era.'