Force considers setting up in malls to save on stations

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 18 May, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 18 May, 2002, 12:00am

More police stations could be merged to make better use of resources, with services for the public supplemented by small centres in busy areas.

Deputy Police Commissioner Dick Lee Ming-kwai said the force was considering copying a system used in Queensland, Australia, where small police service centres had been set up in busy areas such as shopping malls.

Mr Lee said the idea would be to set up service centres manned by two police officers and equipped with facilities such as a computer and fax machine.

'Simple cases can be handled at these centres while bigger ones can be referred to the nearby police station,' the Deputy Police Commissioner said.

He said this idea arose from the merger of some police stations in Tuen Mun, Hunghom, Shau Kei Wan and Sha Tin.

Mr Lee would not rule out the possibility that more police stations could later be merged in other districts if the service centre idea proved successful.

'An average of $8 million to $10 million in operational costs could be saved a year from each of the mergers,' he said.

Mr Lee said the concept could also be applied in new town areas where the force might be freed from the requirement to have one police division for every 200,000 people and one police district for every 300,000.

'Building a 15-storey police station and three small police service centres will be much cheaper than building two 10-storey police stations.'

Mr Lee said the force was also planning to set up a railway police district to police all railways and stations by late next year.

He also revealed that 69 per cent of 18,500 respondents to an internal survey by the force supported the move to change the design of the uniform.

Mr Lee said the new uniform will be introduced by the end of next year.

The blue uniform, which will include skirts for women officers, will see an end to the century-old green outfit in summer. It has been designed by fashion chain G2000.