INDEPENDENT investigators would be appointed to look at complaints against police under an amendment being considered by legislator James To Kun-sun. United Democrat Mr To has spearheaded the campaign for the Complaints Against Police Office (CAPO) to be made independent of the force. He said he was considering plans to increase the power of the Police Complaints Committee (PCC), which monitors the work of CAPO, by allowing it to appoint independent investigators. CAPO has been criticised by legislators because the number of substantiated complaints has been persistently low. The PCC, staffed by the Governor's appointees, ratifies CAPO investigations. It is to be made a statutory body in a bill to be tabled early next year. At yesterday's Security Panel meeting, Mr To said that if the administration refused to budge, he might amend the bill to give the PCC the power to set up an independent investigation team. But Secretary for Security Alistair Asprey reiterated the Government's long-held position that it was unnecessary and undesirable to make CAPO independent or appoint non-police officers as investigators. The new Commissioner of Police Eddie Hui Ki-on said it would dent the force's morale if outsiders were appointed to keep an eye on it. Most of the complaints were directed against front-line officers and they would not feel comfortable being monitored by an independent body. ''It is extremely unfair [for legislators] to be particularly harsh with police officers,'' he said. He questioned whether any other professional group was monitored by outsiders. He noted, for example, that allegations of lawyers' misconduct were dealt with by lawyers. Mr Asprey said: ''I don't think self-regulation is a new idea. It's an idea that most professionals adopt.'' He said the police had not been tolerant or forgiving of those who let the force down. Mr Hui challenged legislators to produce evidence of CAPO trying to cover up misdeeds of colleagues or carrying out half-hearted investigations. He said he was satisfied with the present arrangement and was confident CAPO would do its job well. But legislators were highly critical of the status quo and pressed Mr Asprey to survey the public on whether they found the present arrangement credible. The Secretary promised to consider the proposal and give a reply in two months. Members also queried whether the PCC had sufficient secretariat support, especially in view of newly-introduced changes. The PCC was recently empowered to interview witnesses. A PCC vice-chairman and United Democrat, Conrad Lam Kui-shing, said he did not understand why the PCC secretary-general post was filled by a chief executive officer instead of an administration officer as was previously the case. Ex-PCC member Miriam Lau Kin-yee said it was impossible for the PCC to carry out its new duties if its secretariat was not strengthened. Mr Asprey said the PCC had not asked for more resources. If it did, the Government would try to comply. In his first appearance before Legco as the new commissioner, Mr Hui also pledged to keep a clean and highly motivated force. ''I don't deny that there are bad eggs within the force. In an organisation of our size, there are bound to be bad eggs.''