Logical solution

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 January, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 January, 2002, 12:00am

I was interested to read the letter from the Commissioner of Police (South China Morning Post, December 22), in response to suggestions from readers about the setting up of a non-emergency report hotline.

It reminded me of an incident which occurred during Chinese New Year in 2000.

My wife and I were walking down Pokfulam Reservoir Road from the Peak after watching the fireworks display when two private cars drove down behind us. The road is narrow and unlit and has barriers at each end plus notices prohibiting use by unauthorised motor vehicles.

Several other pedestrians were on the road at that time and the presence of cars was a hazard.

I recorded one of the registration numbers, but did not consider that the incident justified calling the 999 emergency number. Instead, I wrote to the Traffic Complaints Section, Police Headquarters, Arsenal Street.

Around two weeks later, I had a phone call from a police officer apologising that the letter had gone to the wrong section and telling me that it was now too late to take action because a notice of intended prosecution had to be served within 14 days of the alleged offence.

The officer said if I was faced with a similar incident in the future I should call the 999 number.

Like me and many other of your correspondents, the Commissioner of Police believes that the 999 number should be used for genuine emergencies. He apparently has faith in the alternatives available for non-emergencies.

After my experience, I am afraid that I do not.

A non-urgent response number would be a logical solution.