Police inspectors yesterday snubbed an urgent meeting called by deputy commissioner Alfred Ma Wai-luk to clarify his remark that being insulted was part of their job.
A notice issued by Police Inspectors Association chairman Henry Ngo Chi-hang said the staff union disagreed that taking unreasonable insults was part of police work.
"The association is waiting quietly for the force management to clarify the deputy commissioner's comment," it said.
The association also called for abusive behaviour towards police officers to be made a criminal offence.
Ngo said the notice issued to the union's 2,500 members expressed its stance on Ma's remark and that he had nothing more to add.
The deputy commissioner made the remark in a radio interview on Sunday, saying that the force requested officers exercise restraint and display professionalism. "Tolerating such insults is also part of the job. They must accept [this]," he said.
His comment sparked widespread disquiet among police officers who voiced their concern via instant messaging services on their phones.
"A lot of colleagues are asking whether they are paid for being insulted and whether it is a new order from the management," a junior officer said.
Yesterday, the Junior Police Officers' Association passed some of the messages on to the force's staff relations branch, which later contacted four staff unions for an informal lunch meeting with Ma at the Police Officers' Club in Causeway Bay.
But no representatives from the inspectors' association attended the meeting. Ngo declined to comment on why they did not attend.
Representatives from the Junior Police Officers' Association, Superintendents' Association and Overseas Inspectors' Association did attend.
Junior Police Officers' Association chairman Joe Chan Cho-kwong said he expressed members' concern over the remark.
Ma, who has been with the force for 36 years, will go on pre-retirement leave after his last working day on September 16.