Police watchdog aims to shorten probes into complaints

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 10 July, 2009, 12:00am

The statutory police watchdog yesterday said it wanted to shorten the time it took to complete investigations into complaints against officers after a poll showed that only 30 per cent of respondents believed the watchdog's work was efficient.

The Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) became a statutory body in June. In March, a survey was conducted to gauge the public's understanding and expectations of the watchdog, and only 30 per cent of respondents said they believed the IPCC worked efficiently.

Nearly half, 47.2 per cent of respondents, did not know that the IPCC was not a part of the police force. The random telephone survey was of 1,000 respondents.

Twenty-two per cent of them said they wanted the watchdog to improve its transparency and 49 per cent wanted it to improve its performance after it became a statutory body.

Sixty-five per cent of respondents had a positive perception of the IPCC.

There were more than 1,000 respondents in the random telephone survey conducted by an independent research company commissioned by the IPCC.

Complaints are investigated by the police Complaints Against Police Office (CAPO), which then submits a report to the IPCC for scrutiny.

Council chairman Jat Sew-tong said it aimed to shorten the time it took to handle complaints, included simplifying and speeding up documentary processes between the CAPO and the IPCC.

Council member Eric Cheung Tat-ming said the handling of some complaints had dragged on for up to three years, but about 90 per cent of complaints met CAPO's performance targets - completion within six months.

Meanwhile, the council said it would conduct more themed studies of complaints. It had noted a series of complaints about officers' powers of arrest. Many complainants said they had been arrested and then released soon after with no explanation for either action.