The auxiliary police force is on the lookout for fresh young faces from universities this year to join as part-time officers amid a retirement exodus of veterans.
The team has been recruiting more university students as auxiliary policemen in recent years, as officers who joined in the 1970s retired one after another.
Hiring undergraduates could freshen up the squad, enhance its service quality and train them to be more disciplined adults, Auxiliary Police Commandant Yiu Yeung-lung said yesterday.
"This can provide us with a team of young and capable officers for our future succession," he said.
Every year, an average of 250 officers leave the 3,844-strong squad, a part-time reserve for the regular police force.
Replacements for the departures are sought partly through an auxiliary police undergraduate scheme. This year the team seeks to hire 192 university students, up from 128 last year.
Some of the 1,043 undergraduates hired since 2003 joined the regular force after completing their studies.
But the law enforcement environment has become tougher amid a rising number of protests and anti-police sentiment in Hong Kong.
During the July 1 mass rally this year, a protester blew a whistle in the ears of five police officers, including an auxiliary policeman. A 49-year-old man faces five counts of assaulting police and will stand trial next month.
"A small portion of protesters were boisterous in expressing themselves," Yiu said. "We need to enhance our professionalism … and be impartial."
He said the increased intake of officers had nothing to do with the higher rate of protests these days, although one of the main tasks for the reserve force is to support regular police with crowd control. Yiu said his officers received sufficient training in crowd management.
Auxiliary police officers must fulfil a minimum of 208 working hours per year. The starting pay is HK$75 per hour.
Applicants should either be full-time undergraduate students or full-time employees.