Police seeking 'fair appraisal' in pay revamp

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 April, 2008, 12:00am

Hong Kong police are pushing for an independent salary-adjustment mechanism as part of the first overhaul of the force's grade structure in 20 years.

The sweeping changes proposed by staff representatives also include adding more increment points, linked to seniority, to the pay scale to make up for slow promotions.

But the committee in charge of the review has warned that some suggestions are beyond its scope.

The Standing Committee on Disciplined Services Salaries and Conditions of Service has recently been bombarded with 22 recommendations in four joint submissions from staff representatives on the Police Force Council.

A meeting was held last week for staff representatives to air their views.

The committee was understood to be concerned about the cost of implementing all the changes, the technicalities involved and, above all, whether the public would find them acceptable.

The pay and conditions of service of the disciplined forces were last reviewed in 1988, resulting in the creation of a separate police pay scale.

The annual civil service pay adjustments apply to all grades, taking into account the overall pay trend in the private sector, but not the job nature of individual grades.

Chung Kam-wa, chairman of the Junior Police Officers' Association, said the police were unique and deserved separate pay adjustments.

'For instance, people can see for themselves how well the police have performed when handling the protests during the World Trade Organisation ministerial conference. We think we deserve a fair appraisal,' he said.

He said promotion from constable to sergeant would normally take 15 years. 'We think we need to provide more increment points to motivate the officers.'

Asked if the staff unions had been too demanding in raising so many initiatives, he said: 'Our pay and conditions of service have not been reviewed for two decades. We just want experts on the committee to give us a fair appraisal.'

But the committee's chairman, executive councillor Henry Fan Hung-ling, asked staff representatives to reconsider their submissions last month, saying some of the demands did not fall under the ambit of the review.

Another committee member, Ip Kwok-him, a vice-chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said it was understandable that staff representatives would take the opportunity to air their grievances and demands.

He said the committee would finalise recommendations for the government by the end of the year.