Police watchdog seeks more resources

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 December, 2011, 12:00am


The watchdog that oversees complaints against police officers wants more resources and more pay for the person who heads its day-to-day work.

The Independent Police Complaints Council, which handles cases from the Complaints Against Police Office (Capo) - the internal police investigative unit - and decides whether they have merit, has 28 staff, 12 of whom are vetting officers.

Council chairman Jat Sew-tong SC said their office in Wan Chai as inadequate and they had to work in a conference room.

He said they recently had had to rent a 4,000 square foot office as a warehouse to store case files and expand the size of its conference room, all at its own expense.

The council is looking for a bigger office close to police headquarters.

Jat also said the service pledge to complete case files was 12 months - six months for Capo to finish investigating the case and a further six months for the council to endorse the results.

He said it wanted to hire two to four more officers to vet cases to reduce the timeframe to a total of six months.

Council secretary-general Ricky Chu Man-kin's directorate pay scale is now D2, giving him HK$117,950 a month. Jat wants him to be promoted to D4, with a salary of HK$155,700, on a par with assistant police commissioner (service quality) Wong Fook-chuen, who oversees Capo.

The council received 3,576 complaints in the 12 months to March 31, down 3 per cent. It has endorsed 3,968, some hung over from previous years, involving 7,182 allegations, up 10.5 per cent.

Some 2,105 allegations required full investigation, but about half were found to be unsubstantiated, compared with only 778 the previous year.

Jat said many allegations were minor, involving a police officer and the complainant, without any third party witness, so it was difficult to prove if the police had done something wrong.

But he said the situation was unsatisfactory and they would work hard with Capo to reduce the number of unsubstantiated cases brought forward.