The Housing Department was urged to reform squatter control operations to save taxpayers $39 million and reduce staff inactivity. Staffing at the Squatter Control Office had remained unchanged despite a significant decline in the number of squatters in the past decade. Also, the department did not cut the frequency of patrols, which could save the government $39 million a year. Currently, 199 teams with more than 800 staff were set up to carry out patrol duties on areas likely to have squatters. The number of illegal structures has decreased from 44,923 in 1982 to 2,667 in 1995. Housing officers spend 13 per cent of their time on administration, during which time the rest of their teams are idle. The report suggested the working hours of entire teams could be rescheduled and their sizes reduced. It also suggested the size of the team be trimmed. Director of Housing Fung Tung said that given pressure from Chinese immigrants, hut-to-hut checks in squatter areas declared for clearance needed to be stepped up. If the frequency of patrols and number of teams were cut, the time needed for a round of checks would be doubled, Mr Fung said. He conceded there was room to make better use of staff on patrol. He noted that a proposed review of manning could lead to a cut of 181 posts with an annual saving of $30.7 million.