Cambridge wants 'Asia's finest' for criminology courses
For an ambitious police officer it might be the perfect way to get ahead - a Cambridge professor is in town touting courses on offer at the famous university.
Lawrence Sherman, of the university's Institute of Criminology, said: 'The Hong Kong police force has one of the highest ratios of officers with university degrees in the world.'
That was why he was making a recruitment trip to the city.
The chairman of the Police Inspectors' Association, Tony Liu Kit-ming, said more and more officers had been taking further studies.
'Higher academic qualifications really count in promotions, especially with so much competition.'
Mr Liu said this might be why a world-class institution like Cambridge University was recruiting in the city.
There has been a boom in further study programmes for police officers in the past few years, with nearly every university in the city establishing degree courses in policing, criminology and public administration. There are also courses on domestic violence, criminal investigation, and even interview skills for promotions.
Course prices range from several thousand dollars to HK$100,000 for a master's degree. The fee for a master's course in criminology at Cambridge is about ?3,000 (HK$144,000).
The Hong Kong police have a tradition of sending officers abroad for training. Elite officers have been sent to Bramshill Police Staff College in England for leadership training.
Some 384 officers from all ranks were sent on courses overseas and on the mainland in the 2008/09 financial year. The force said it encouraged a culture of lifelong learning and Cambridge University was one of the institutions it had been talking to recently.
Mr Liu said more constables had been given subsidies to study in recent years, while inspectors were increasingly willing to pay their own way at world-class universities.
'Officers usually study policing or criminology. Law and business studies are not as popular as 10 years ago in the force as these two industries are not as prosperous as before,' Mr Liu said.
Professor Sherman said he had discussed courses and research with police management, the Correctional Services Department and the Independent Commission against Corruption. His recruitment drive will take him to Singapore today, then he heads for Australia.