Off-duty police take a hike for public safety

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 October, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 October, 2004, 12:00am

More than 100 police officers will mix business with pleasure in a pilot scheme starting tomorrow to improve public safety on hiking trails.

Off-duty officers will go hiking in organised groups on their days off, looking out for other hikers and anything suspicious en route.

The voluntary scheme, devised by the Police Volunteer Services Corps, will start tomorrow morning, with 150 officers joining the first mass hike in the Kam Shan Country Park.

Although they will not be wearing uniforms or showing their warrant cards, there will still be a visible police presence as some officers will be carrying banners.

They will also approach other hikers they meet and offer security tips and leaflets.

Lone hikers, or those in small groups, will be invited to join the police groups because they are more vulnerable to crimes that occur in country parks, including robberies.

'Many officers from volunteer groups within the police force, as well as other officers in general, enjoy hiking,' said one of the organisers, senior inspector Wong 'Tiger' Hung-fu, from the police training school.

'Through their experiences, we realise many hikers do not know all the safety precautions they should take. Therefore, we're holding organised hikes that can help people, while also looking out for anything suspicious to help crime prevention.'

The organisers said they wanted to make the hikes a recreational family event, and a chance to develop comradeship among officers.

The participating officers will gather at Kam Shan tomorrow before splitting into six groups and heading for different routes in such places as Tai Po, Tai Wai and Tsz Wan Shan.

The organisers hope to hold at least eight hiking trips in the next three months.