EXPATRIATE police officers who serve after 1997 have been given an official assurance that their relatives in Britain's civil service will not be subject to discrimination.
However, overseas officers are still seeking details on terms and conditions of police work in the Special Administrative Region (SAR).
The minister with special responsibility for Hong Kong, Alastair Goodlad, has told the Expatriate Inspectors Association (EIA) that, despite recent official conflicting comments, continued police work would not ''in itself'' be a bar to promotion in government ranks.
Mr Goodlad said revised guidelines on personnel security would be drafted and made available later in the year. This would indicate that Her Majesty's Government: Would not consider service with the SAR as service with the People's Republic of China.
Would judge applications by former SAR employees seeking to join the British Civil Service on their merits.
Would not consider employment by the SAR to ''in itself prevent or affect'' the security clearance of civil servants' relations - even if the SAR employee was married to a foreign national.
Mr Goodlad's letter - dispatched in a bid to quell confusion and concern over the future of civil servants in Britain - has been distributed to all of the EIA's 380-strong membership.
It is Mr Goodlad's second attempt this year to allay fears of discrimination.
The EIA's protests followed a British Department of Security memorandum to a British civil servant which stated her official security clearance could be put in jeopardy because her brother was an expatriate policeman in Hong Kong and was married to a local resident.
Mr Goodlad apologised to the inspectors. He said the comments contradicted previous assurances on continued employment and should be considered as ''personal views'' and ''the officer does not speak on behalf of Her Majesty's Government''.
EIA vice-chairman, Inspector Owen Brady, said yesterday the latest advice did not represent complete satisfaction. ''However, it marks the end of the issue for us,'' he said.
''He has replied promptly to our concerns and we can't see how we can take this much further.'' The EIA recently saw a marked shift of power in elections for its executive ranks, reflecting the large composition of contract officers. Its ranks have vowed to champion authorities for a position on security of tenure after 1997.
Mr Brady said the association also wanted information on the likely terms and conditions for expatriates wishing to stay on.
He said a handful of officers had definitely decided to stay in Hong Kong.
''But, on the other hand, only a handful of expatriates have decided they will be definitely leaving,'' he said.
Alastair Goodlad, Baron Goodlad