Maintaining law and order in a free society like Hong Kong is not easy. Take the Occupy protests as an example. Caught between assertive pro-democracy protesters and an unyielding government, the police had no choice but to step in at times during the 79 days of stand-off. True, there were some incidents in which an individual officer's conduct may have been questionable, but the force did, by and large, exercise restraint and discipline. Whether the police could have done a better job is open to debate. At a press conference earlier, Commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung said the difficulty and complexity of the operations were unprecedented. He maintained that his team had remained tolerant and professional. That Occupy came to an end without major injuries owes much to police restraint. The officers were basically just keeping an eye on the unlawfully occupied areas most of the time. The non-resistance approach adopted by protesters during the final stages of clearance also contributed to a relatively peaceful ending. Regrettably, reason does not always prevail. There were at least nine occasions during which occupiers got rowdy and had to be subdued by force. Emotion sometimes ran so high that some officers apparently acted out of line. But overall, the use of force was kept to a minimum. Despite some setback to its image, our police are still among the finest in Asia. Although those who are dissatisfied with the force jumped from 19 per cent in June to 27 per cent last month, the majority of the people are still happy with its performance. If the response to the latest police recruitment exercise is anything to go by, many still have faith in the profession. Tsang said the police were aware that certain sectors in the community were dissatisfied with their actions. There are more than 1,900 related complaints, some of which were lodged by the aggrieved or other affected parties. That said, the force has also been flooded with praise and commendations. It shows that there are polarised views about police performance in handling the Occupy protests. Law enforcement is not about pleasing everyone. The police are expected to discharge their duties impartially and with professionalism. Some members of the public should also drop their hostility towards the police. The force cannot do its job properly if it continues to be torn between the so-called yellow and blue ribbon camps.