To the point
Police Commissioner Lo Wai-chung confirmed on Tuesday the Hong Kong Police Force plans to expand its establishment with about 900 new members, mainly to beef up frontline manpower, such as the Police Tactical Unit and mobile teams tasked with crowd management and riot control in addition to daily patrols. This is a wise move, especially considering what has happened in this town in recent years.
Some political parties here routinely criticized the police for using excessive force every time their members violated the law in protest activities in an attempt to justify their often violent and unlawful behavior. The law enforcement force has been doing an excellent job protecting public safety and maintaining social order on a daily basis. However, more and more political events are involving violent expressions of political bias aimed at intimidating the public as well as the SAR government. Examples of such radical acts can be seen in the illegal 79-day “Occupy Central” movement in the fall of 2014 and the Mong Kok riot during the Chinese New Year holidays in February.
Frontline policing, including traffic control, is not a job for the faint-hearted. It quite often involves high-risk and high-pressure situations. This can take a considerable toll on police officers’ physical and mental health. That is why they need regular days off to rest and “recharge”, which means that a reasonable number of personnel on duty have to be maintained at any moment so that some officers can have their well-deserved days off to do their jobs well.
Let’s also not forget that Hong Kong is a free port city that attracts visitors from all over the world every day, a factor that makes the city vulnerable to rising international terrorism. The city’s reputation as one of the safest places in the world is testimony to the professionalism and efficiency the Hong Kong Police Force maintains in performing its duties. At a time when terrorist attacks have hit Europe and Southeast Asia, the public in Hong Kong understand it is best to be prepared even if there is no imminent danger of such attacks happening here.
The funding requirement for expanding the force will very likely be presented to the LegCo for approval next year as part of the SAR government’s budget bill. The public has every reason to expect lawmakers will give their approval to this bill.