Safety concern at police open day

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 November, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 November, 2004, 12:00am

The Tourism Commission fears the Central Police Station is not structurally safe enough to hold a proposed open day.

There had been cases of falling masonry, and there were narrow and cracked staircases in the buildings, the Central and Western District Council heard yesterday. Central's Deputy District Commander, Senior Superintendent Noel Howcroft, said an officer had been injured by falling masonry in June.

'The building is quite old and not in excellent condition. It has to be urgently repaired and please don't rush into this [open day],' Mr Howcroft said.

The plan for an open day at the station was proposed by legislator Patrick Lau Sau-shing. The first police buildings at the site went up in 1864, with more buildings being added until 1925.

Assistant Commissioner for Tourism Patricia So Pui-sai said government architects found problems with staircases and masonry.

'We are worried that the buildings cannot support a large crowd. Some of the staircases do not satisfy safety standards,' Ms So said.

But some councillors said the defects should not be a problem and an open day was essential for the public to understand why the compound was of such high historic value.

'The Grand Canyon is also dangerous. I think as long as we notify the visitors about the danger beforehand it should be fine,' councillor Lam Kin-lai said.