China has approved a plan to overhaul its police force to improve its efficiency and salvage its public image. The reforms - covering areas including law enforcement, domestic security, administration, personnel, and supervision of the auxiliary force - had received the endorsements of the Communist Party's top reform steering panel and the Politburo Standing Committee, Xinhua said yesterday. Both the panel and the committee are chaired by President Xi Jinping. The reform plan, comprising over 100 measures, is aimed at making the police an effective force and increasing public approval of their work by 2020. "It's a reform aimed at tackling root problems that have been accumulated over the years," the Ministry of Public Security said. The ministry came under scrutiny after the party's corruption investigation into its former chief Zhou Yongkang, who was also a Politburo Standing Committee member. In recent months, high-profile cases of wrongful convictions - including that of Inner Mongolian teenager Huugjilt who was wrongfully executed in 1996 for a rape and murder he did not commit - have further fuelled public criticism of the police force. The force's credibility had also been damaged by problems including bribe-taking officers and those who bent the law to serve their own interests, the ministry said. Under the reform plan, police will have to film all criminal interrogations to prevent extortion and torture. This was to improve fairness in enforcing the law, Xinhua reported. A system would also be set up to hold police officers accountable for the cases they handled. Beijing-based lawyer Si Weijiang said whether the reform would work depended on its implementation, as lawyers were rarely given full access to such recordings even if available. The ministry said its operations would also be overhauled to make it more intelligence-driven with a focus on crime prevention. It would also push to set up a national population database to share information across government departments, it added. Another Beijing-based lawyer, Li Fangping, called for supervision and for a proper authorisation process to be put in place as citizens' privacy was a concern. "If any police officer could access the database without authorisation, and if there was no supervision, there could be concerns of such information being misused," Li said. The reform plan is also aimed at improving efficiency in the public security system's administrative management, for instance, to speed up checks at the borders to Hong Kong and Macau.