CIVILIANS should be recruited to join and eventually head the panel which investigates complaints against the police. Legislator Mrs Peggy Lam Pei Yu-dja, the vice-chairman of the monitory body - the Police Complaints Committee (PCC) - revealed this and other suggestions to fellow councillors yesterday. Mrs Lam will move an amendment outlining the suggestion to a motion sponsored by United Democrat Mr James To Kun-sen, who is calling for an independent body to be set up to replace the Complaints Against the Police Office (CAPO). But CAPO has rejected the PCC proposals as impractical. Mrs Lam suggested non-police officers be recruited to join CAPO and that it eventually be headed by a civilian. The recommendations had been agreed to by the PCC. They were a compromise proposal seeking to improve investigation of complaints while also considering the force's morale. However, CAPO's senior staff officer, Senior Superintendent Ross Williams, expressed doubts. ''CAPO is an operational unit. An operational unit must be headed by a policeman who has adequate knowledge of the force. ''It's a departure from established practice if a civilian is allowed to head the office,'' he said. Superintendent Williams also saw no reason why civilians should join CAPO's investigation teams. ''We conduct our investigations fairly and objectively,'' he said. Civilians vetting investigations could slow progress. Mrs Lam's other recommendations included turning the PCC into a statutory body, such as the Consumer Council, thus allowing it to recruit its own staff. At present, the PCC is supported by civil servants. Mrs Lam also suggested the PCC have its right to interview complainants expanded. At present, the PCC can only monitor CAPO investigations based on written reports submitted by the latter. She wants police to report to the PCC any disciplinary action taken against officers.