It's safer on the police beat, and that's no accident

Fewer police officers are falling prey to slips and assaults these days, the result of a concerted campaign to cut danger on the job, report says

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 May, 2013, 5:03am

Trips, slips and assaults are all in a day's work, but being a police officer in Hong Kong is safer than it used to be.

Fewer officers have been injured and motorcycle incidents are at the lowest level since records started in 1997, a reflection of successful efforts by the force to reduce accidents at work, a police report says.

The report is another attempt at reducing accidents - it has been produced with a view to giving frontline supervisors a better appreciation of the types of accidents that occur in their areas of responsibility.

"If supervisors have a better understanding of the causation factors of the more commonly occurring incidents, they will be able to deploy their manpower in a more considered manner," Superintendent (Occupational Safety and Health) Peter Donohue said.

In 1997, after the enactment of occupational safety and health legislation, the Hong Kong police started collecting data on injuries incurred during the course of duty.

Incidents peaked in 2005, when 1,315 officers were injured.

This compares with 1,082 last year.

Assaults on police officers - involving violent and drunk members of the public - accounted for 53 per cent of all injuries, the report says.

Seven per cent of injuries happened during motorcycle patrol duties; while slips, trips and falls incurred in the course of general as well as patrolling duties took up 11 per cent.

Miscellaneous incidents made up 29 per cent.

They covered a wide spectrum of injuries, including those suffered when trying to arrest a perpetrator; trapping fingers in mechanical parts of equipment, dropping objects on toes and back sprains.

Of course, one can never be too careful.

In Norfolk, England, an officer is suing a petrol station owner who phoned police in August when he thought he was being burgled - an alarm protecting his garage forecourt had gone off at around midnight.

Constable Kelly Jones, 33, tripped on a kerb as she answered the call by Steve Jones.

The garage owner told the Daily Mirror: "I thought nothing of it, other than she must have been a bit embarrassed - and I helped her up."