Gadget lure for recruits ridiculed

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 October, 2010, 12:00am

A police study team looking at ways of making up the shortfall in detectives has been ridiculed for asking whether officers might be persuaded to switch to detective work if they were offered mobile phones and access to laptop computers.

A senior CID officer said the focus groups had been ridiculed within the force after two groups were set up to ask constables whether the gadgets would encourage more uniformed officers to consider work with the criminal investigation division (CID). 'These are tiny, window-dressing issues and they have no relevance to the problem in hand,' he said.

'The problem is long hours, lack of recognition, lack of payment for the hours worked and the stress of the job. How is a HK$300 Nokia phone going to address all of that?'

'Our fear is that this is going to be a window-dressing exercise, that will be non-controversial and won't upset senior officers or anyone in the government. They are not going to the core of the issue.

'You have to do something more significant. In many forces overseas, a detective works unlimited hours but gets a significant monthly allowance. In some forces, detectives automatically get an acting rank of sergeant.'

However, an officer familiar with the study team's work insisted it was looking at a range of issues and was considering incentives other than mobile phones and laptops.

'Members are looking at job-related allowances, the lifestyle issue for detectives, leave entitlement and overtime allowances,' the officer said.

Tony Liu Kit-ming, chairman of the Police Inspectors Association, said: 'I hope they [the study team] will come out with some practical solutions, but I am not optimistic.

'There are many constraints that bind the police force. For example, with compensation for overtime they would need to apply for additional resources from the government.'