Reg­u­lat­ing gun use of po­lice

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - – BEI­JING NEWS

Given the in­clu­sion of some new clauses that ex­pand or re­strict the pow­ers of the po­lice, the draft of the Po­lice Law, which has been made pub­lic to so­licit pub­lic opin­ions, has re­ceived ex­ten­sive at­ten­tion. Since the law’s en­act­ment on Feb 28, 1995, the coun­try’s le­gal and so­cial en­vi­ron­ment has un­der­gone enor­mous changes, and with the author­i­ties com­mit­ted to ad­vanc­ing the rule of law and pub­lic obe­di­ence to the law, it has be­come nec­es­sary to amend the Po­lice Law so it meets the needs of the times.

Any im­proper use of their pow­ers by po­lice of­fi­cers will un­der­mine peo­ple’s trust in the po­lice and the law, and cause pub­lic mis­giv­ings about the use of power. So the ex­pand­ing or re­strain­ing of the pow­ers of the po­lice is of con­cern to all, thus any re­vi­sion of the Po­lice Law needs to be open and trans­par­ent. There­fore, it marks a sig­nif­i­cant step for­ward for the author­i­ties to so­licit pub­lic opin­ions on the pro­posed amend­ments.

Po­lice power con­sti­tutes a part of the State’s com­pul­sory power, which in­cludes the use of force. How­ever, the use of force by the po­lice, in­clud­ing the use of guns, is very com­pli­cated and any mis­use will have ad­verse con­se­quences. The ex­po­sure of cases in­volv­ing po­lice of­fi­cers us­ing their firearms has caused grave pub­lic con­cerns over their right to use a gun.

With this in mind, the draft pro­poses strictly reg­u­lat­ing the use of weapons by po­lice. How­ever, po­lice of­fi­cers are em­pow­ered to use their weapons when nec­es­sary, and spe­cific sce­nar­ios are laid out in which po­lice of­fi­cers can use their weapons. This of­fers them in­sti­tu­tional and le­gal guar­an­tees to ex­er­cise their right to use force if nec­es­sary.

Reg­u­lat­ing the use of guns by the po­lice will not only guide po­lice of­fi­cers to prop­erly ex­er­cise their pow­ers, it will also help pre­vent any abuse of a po­lice officer’s right to use a gun.

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