I refer to the letters which have appeared in these columns on the subject of a new hotline number to divert non-emergency calls from the 999 emergency number.
Your readers have quite rightly pointed out that 999 is for emergency calls only and must not be abused. At the moment, members of the public may contact the police in respect of non-emergency services through the following means:
By e-mail through the police homepage (www.hkpolice.com ).
By fax or phone to the local police station. Fax and phone numbers of police stations can be found on police contact cards which are distributed at district offices and police stations.
By phoning the following police hotlines: Narcotics Bureau (2527 1234); Organised Crime and Triad Bureau (2527 7887); police hotline (2527 7177).
The force and the efficiency unit are currently examining the feasibility of providing an integrated call centre incorporating the various police hotlines to provide a one-stop shop for handling non-emergency inquiries from members of the public.
Police are committed to ensuring that our interface with the public is efficient and user-friendly. Meanwhile, we will continue to seek improvements to our services.
We understand the frustration felt by your correspondent Bill MacInnes, whose letter headlined 'Police encouraging use of 999 line', appeared in these columns on November 17.
Mr MacInnes experienced communication problems during his phone conversation with report room staff. However, most of our staff, particularly those deployed in the report rooms, are English-speaking officers. We thank Mr MacInnes for his valuable feedback which we will use to review the handling of phone calls from members of the public.
Regarding the calls Mr MacInnes made to the commanding officers at the regional command control centre and regional traffic control centre, these phone numbers are not for contact with the general public. They are an integral part of our communication system that supports the command and control of outdoor police operations. Use of these numbers for other purposes may impede our efficiency in delivering emergency services.
We would strongly advise Mr MacInnes not to use those numbers, but instead, for non-emergency matters, to call the local police station. In the case of emergencies, 999 should still be used. We would like Mr MacInnes to contact Vincent Kwan, Chief Inspector, Police Public Relations Branch, on 2866 6149 so that we can follow up his case.
for Commissioner of Police