POLICE chiefs have promised that officers who refuse to participate in interviews with the independent Police Complaints Council will not jeopardise their promotion prospects. Complaints Against Police Office (CAPO) Chief Superintendent Louis Lau Chun-sing said officers had been told they did not have to co-operate with outsiders. Mr Lau said it would be unfair for force management to make any 'adverse inference' because officers had exercised their right not to be re-interviewed about complaints. However, he said the force would prefer officers to answer the questions of council members in relation to contentious cases. This year, only five officers have been asked to appear before the council - which supervises investigations conducted by CAPO - with one officer, a constable, refusing. Mr Lau said no disciplinary action would be taken against the officer for not taking part in the council's review. 'The force position is that all officers should extend full co-operation so, obviously, police are being encouraged to attend,' Mr Lau said. 'But this attendance at the [council] will be on a totally voluntary basis; it is a gentlemen's agreement.' Council chairman Dennis Chang Khen-lee said members wanted to intensify their campaign to interview witnesses to further improve the image of the police complaints system. Mr Chang said he also wanted to push harder for police to be re-interviewed. He said he would personally lobby the administration to respond formally to the council's request to have lay people participate in CAPO investigations. Local Inspectors' Association chairman Robert Chau Chuen-kung said officers should never be pressured into being re-interviewed. He said all appearances before the council should be dictated by the nature of the complaint. 'The basic principle that has to be extended to police is the same that all people have: the right to remain silent,' he said.