To the point

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - S TA F F W R I T E R

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.

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