Legislative Council

LC Paper No. CB(2) 2782/98-99
(These minutes have been seen
by the Administration)

Ref : CB2/PL/SE/1

LegCo Panel on Security

Minutes of meeting held on Thursday, 10 June 1999 at 2:30 pm in Conference Room A of the Legislative Council Building

Members present:

Hon Mrs Selina CHOW LIANG Shuk-yee, JP (Deputy Chairman)
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Dr Hon LUI Ming-wah, JP
Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
Hon Gary CHENG Kai-nam
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo

Member attending:

Hon CHAN Yuen-han

Members absent:

Hon James TO Kun-sun (Chairman)
Hon David CHU Yu-lin
Hon LEE Cheuk-yan
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP

Public Officers attending:

Item IV

Mr Raymond WONG
Deputy Secretary for Security 1

Mr Philip CHAN
Principal Assistant Secretary for Security E

Mr TSANG Yam-pui
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Management
Hong Kong Police Force

Chief Superintendent (Planning & Development)
Hong Kong Police Force

Mr Gorden YEUNG
Chief Superintendent of Performance Review Branch
Service Quality Wing
Hong Kong Police Force

Item V

Mr Raymond WONG
Deputy Secretary for Security 1

Mr Philip CHAN
Principal Assistant Secretary for Security E

Mr LEE Ming-kwai
Director of Operations
Hong Kong Police Force

Mr LAM Kin
Chief Superintendent (Support)
Hong Kong Police Force

Mr CHAU Cham-chiu
Hong Kong Auxiliary Police Force
Clerk in attendance:
Mrs Sharon TONG
Chief Assistant Secretary (2)1
Staff in attendance:
Miss Betty MA
Senior Assistant Secretary (2) 1
As the Chairman of the Panel was unable to attend the meeting, Mrs Selina CHOW, Deputy Chairman, took the chair.

I. Confirmation of minutes
(LC Paper Nos. CB(2) 1889 and 2221/98-99)

2. The minutes of the meeting held on 31 March 1999 and the special meeting held on 20 April 1999 were confirmed.

II. Date of next meeting and items for discussion
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 2220/98-99(02))

3. Members agreed to discuss the following items at the next Panel meeting to be held on 8 July 1999 -

  1. Indebtedness of police officers;

  2. Provision of video-interview rooms in police stations; and

  3. Follow-up on the progress of Year 2000 compliance in Government, Government-funded and Government-regulated organizations within the purview of the Security Bureau.
(Post-meeting note : The next Panel meeting was re-scheduled for 21 July 1999 at 4:30 pm.)

III.Draft Report of the Panel on Security for submission to the Legislative Council
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 2220/98-99(03))

4. Members endorsed the draft Report of the Panel for submission to the Council meeting on 30 June 1999.

IV. Improvements to police stations and operational facilities
(LC Paper Nos. CB(2) 2220/98-99(04) and (05))Briefing by the Administration

5. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Management) (DCP(Mgt)) briefed members on the service quality approach adopted by the Force management. He said that as a result of the Consultancy Support Project commissioned in October 1997 to examine ways to further improve the quality of services provided to the public, the North Point Police Station was chosen as the pilot station to test a number of customer service initiatives. Officers of all ranks in the Force were encouraged to express ideas on the improvement initiatives. Constructive feedback and suggestions were received. Based on this, a service improvement programme incorporating physical modifications, as well as improvement of service attitude and delivery process had been drawn up. Its main features included -

  1. setting up a reception area in the report room;

  2. providing information on Police procedures, leaflets and application forms at the designated public information area;

  3. modifying the physical setting of the report room and other areas which were frequently visited by the public;

  4. installing a close circuit television (CCTV) system to oversee the operation of the report room;

  5. providing further staff training on customer services to improve the manner and response of officers to meet different "customer" needs; and

  6. streamlining the reporting procedures, such as reporting by fax.
The North Point pilot project had been expanded to the Sau Mau Ping and Sha Tin Stations. The Force now proposed to extend the service improvement programme to other Police stations/operational facilities in the coming three years.

6. Chief Superintendent /Performance Review Branch, Service Quality Wing (CSP(PR, SQW)) presented the development in service quality and customer service in the Police Force. Following a review of its top command structure in 1992, the Force was committed to achieving a service quality culture. The Force strategy on service quality was customer focused, value for money, common purpose and values as well as full consultation and participation. To increase the awareness about service quality, a Force vision and statement of seven common purposes and eight values were introduced in the Force. It took one year to develop the strategy. Customer surveys were conducted with a view to understanding the needs of the "customers". The setting up of work improvement teams and improvements on internal communications provided positive support for the implementation of service quality in the Force. Over 1 400 seminars were conducted in respect of the Force-wide consultation on its mission statement. As a result of the implementation of service quality in the Force, CSP(PR, SQW) pointed out that visible benefits to the public and Police officers were identified. As regards the longer term change programme, it would involve a more in-depth search for opportunities to enhance customer service. The Force would aim at achieving smarter working processes and simpler procedures, enhancing skills and service culture, re-defining job roles and responsibilities and increasing exploitation of technology.

7. Chief Superintendent (Planning and Development) (CSP(P&D)) said that the objective of the station improvement project was to provide a more accessible and user friendly environment to the public and station staff. The scope of the project covered remodelling of the report room and the ancillary areas of a Police station that were frequently visited by the public, improvements to changing rooms, resource centre and station security. He then compared the existing facilities in Police stations with the proposed improvement works, in particular the experience gained from the pilot schemes.

DiscussionChange in values and attitude of the Force

8. Mr CHENG Kai-nam enquired about the specific details of the seminars conducted in relation to the Force-wide consultation on the mission statement. DCP(Mgt) said that the Force-wide consultation on its mission statement and campaigns on "Living the Values" were launched with a view to cultivating the Force values among members of the Force. He pointed out that feedback and suggestions on the improvements to Police stations from the Police and the public were solicited by way of focus groups and work improvement teams.

9. In response to Mr CHENG Kai-nam's enquiry about the capability and acceptance of the Force members to cope with the culture change, DCP(Mgt) said that apart from observing working procedures closely, the Force management considered that the attitude of Force members in dealing with members of the public was of equal importance. Measures to cultivate the proper attitude of the Force were put in place.

10. Referring to the comments made by a member of the Independent Police Complaint Committee (IPCC) after releasing its report in April 1999, Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong noted with concern about the continued increase in complaints received by IPCC regarding negligence and impolite attitude of Police officers in performing duties. Such complaints received in March 1999 represented an increase of 50% as compared with that in the corresponding period in 1998. He considered that improvements in the Police stations environment could not be the primary factor contributed to a change in the Force attitude.

11. DCP(Mgt) responded that the comments made by IPCC was incorrect. He said that one of the objectives of bringing a culture change in the Force was to reduce the complaints against the Force. The overall complaints against the Police reduced yearly, in particular the complaints relating to assault by Police officers and fabrication of evidence by the Police officers had dropped in the past two years. A Customer Satisfaction Survey was conducted in respect of the North Point pilot project and the respondents regarded the project effective. DCP(Mgt) further said that seminars and workshops were conducted in the past two years with a view to bringing a culture change into the Force. Recently, the working processes in the North Point, Shatin and Sau Mau Ping Police Stations were streamlined as a result of participation of Force members in the pilot schemes.

12. As regards the waiting time and processing time for reporting cases in the report rooms, DCP(Mgt) said that the Force had adopted specific improvement measures under the North Point pilot project. For example, for minor offences, members of the public could report cases by using prescribed forms to provide the necessary information.

13. CSP(PR, SQW) added that the total number of complaints in respect of the attitude of the Police officers in the North Point Police Station were six and one in 1997 and 1998 respectively and the total number of reports in 1998 outweighed that in 1997. There was no such complaint received so far in 1999. Customer Satisfaction Surveys were conducted with a view to collating feedback on the delivery of report room service by Police officers in the North Point Police Station three months pre- and post-implementation of the pilot project. It was revealed that 73% of the respondents were satisfied with the report room service before the implementation of the pilot project. The satisfactory level rose to over 80% from March to June 1999, i.e. increased by over 8% upon the implementation of the project.

14. While appreciating the Force management's effort to improve the culture in the Force, Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong urged the Force management to address the comments made by IPCC. He considered that apart from improving the physical environment in Police stations, the Force management should pay due emphasis to improving service attitude of its members. DCP(Mgt) shared with Mr CHEUNG's view. He said that the Force was aware of the complaints made against the service quality of the Police officers and had adopted strategic plans to tackle the problem, such as organizing courses on conflict management for Police officers.

15. Dr LUI Ming-wah remarked that an enhancement in the overall public impression on the Force was the prime objective of the improvement project.

Layout and facilities of report room

16. Mr Albert HO considered that the provision of interview rooms in Police stations with CCTV system would be desirable, in particular in the course of taking statements from suspects. DCP(Mgt) said that under the pilot project, minor incidents would be handled in the open areas in the report room. CCTV system would be installed to oversee the operation of the report room. It would be useful in protecting both the public and the Police officers by providing a record of business conducted in the report room. In addition, an one-stop shop arrangement had been made under which a crime investigation staff was stationed in a separate room in the pilot Police station. Though no CCTV system was installed in this room presently, it would be provided in due course. For serious crimes, suspects would be interviewed in a secured room, with the installation of CCTV system underway.

17. Mr Albert HO opined that the provision of CCTV system would reduce the lodging of complaints against the malpractice by Police officers in the course of statement taking. Mr Andrew CHENG considered that apart from the general public, suspects were users of the Police stations. Their interests should also be looked after. Mr HO and Mr CHENG urged the Police to expedite the provision of CCTV systems for all report rooms and video-interview rooms (VIRs) in Police stations. Mr Albert HO also requested the Police to consider providing CCTV systems for temporary detention cells in Police stations. DCP(Mgt) said that the provision of VIRs in Police stations was underway. As regards the provision of CCTV systems for temporary detention centres, apart from the financial implications, the Force would have to give due consideration to the privacy of suspects. Nevertheless, the Force would consider Mr HO's suggestion.Adm

Cost estimation

18. Responding to Mrs Selina CHOW, DCP(Mgt) said that although the capital cost of the project was estimated at MOD prices, a 10% contingency was allowed in the total project cost to meet changes in price levels. As regards an overlapping of items in the cost estimation, CSP(P&D) said that the estimated cost for security systems under para.12(a)(ii) was cost associated with the installation of security systems whereas para. 12(d) was cost associated with the electrical works. The intention was to divide the cost into two categories so as to compare the construction cost with the remaining works in the project. The same rationale was applicable to the building services works under paras.12(b) and (d).

19. Mrs Selina CHOW enquired about the average cost per square metre for refurbishing the Police stations having regard to the fact that Police stations were of varying sizes. CSP(P&D) responded that the finishing cost for those areas in Police stations which were not visited by the public, e.g. the changing rooms, was estimated to be $500 per square metre. For areas visited by the public such as report rooms, the finishing cost was estimated to be in the region of $3,500 per square metre.

20. Mrs Selina CHOW considered that the average cost for areas visited by the public was on the high side. She asked whether the cost was comparable with similar government facilities. In response, CSP(P&D) said that the materials used in the project, including the public reception areas and lobbies in Police stations, were in line with the government fitting out standards.

21. To better control the project cost, Dr LUI Ming-wah was of the view that the Police should engage different designers and contractors for individual Police stations which was indeed a common practice in the commercial sector. CSP(P&D) pointed out that there were two major advantages for engaging only one to two contractors for the 59 Police stations. Firstly, a standardized approach could be ensured for all stations involved. The fewer the contractors involved, the better would be the coordination. Secondly, the material costs would be cheaper as a result of bulk purchase. DCP(Mgt) added that the Force considered that it was undesirable from the corporate image point of view should the design and materials used for individual Police stations vary greatly.

22. Responding to Dr LUI Ming-wah's enquiry about the tender procedures for the project, DCP(Mgt) said that the tender procedures would be in line with the procedures laid down by the Central Tender Board.

23. Dr LUI Ming-wah asked why an inflation allowance amounted to 10% was provided in the cost estimation given that the economy was facing a deflation. CSP(P&D) said that the estimation was based on an inflation index of 3.5% provided by the Treasury when preparing the information paper. The rate would be adopted throughout the project.

Implementation schedule

24. Referring to Annex B of the information paper, Mr CHENG Kai-nam considered that the progress of the improvement project was too slow. DCP(Mgt) said that the implementation schedule was drawn up after taking into account the lead time for the refurbishment works and the conduction of training courses for Police officers to cope with the new facilities in Police stations.

25. Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong commented that training courses for Police officers could be organized independent of the progress of refurbishing Police stations.

26. To conclude, Mrs Selina CHOW said that members did not oppose the proposed improvements to Police stations and operational facilities. However, members requested the Administration to cover the following points in its funding submission to the Public Works Sub-committee and the Finance Committee -Adm
  1. whether the scope of the project could be further expanded to include improvements to facilities in Police stations for suspects, e.g. detention cells;

  2. to provide costs figures for projects of similar nature for comparison and reference purposes;

  3. to shorten the implementation schedule;

  4. the reasons for selecting a limited number of contractors for the improvement project; and

  5. to address members' concerns by incorporating a comprehensive plan for service quality improvement in the Force.
V. Review of the Hong Kong Auxiliary Police Force
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 2220/98-99(06))

Briefing by the Administration

27. Director of Operations (Dir of Ops) briefed members on the background for establishing the Hong Kong Auxiliary Police Force (HKAPF), the results of the review of HKAPF and the implementation of the recommendations arising from it. He said that given that the crime rates of 1997 and 1998 were kept at a very low level and the regular Police Force presently had sufficient manpower to perform front-line operational duties, a Committee consisting of regular Police officers and officers from HKAPF was set up in 1998 to conduct a comprehensive review of HKAPF. The results were announced in mid-March 1999. Of the 33 recommendations made by the Committee, 13 were identified for immediate implementation while others would be phased in over the next several years. Details were as follows -

  1. The role of HKAPF had been redefined with effect from 1 April 1999. Auxiliary Police officers would mainly serve as a trained manpower reserve to support the regular Police Force in crowd management operations during major public events and festivals. Their main functions in an internal security situation were confined to key points protection, manning the command and control centres, Police station defence and consular premises protection. The Emergency Units and Special Duty Companies of HKAPF had also been disbanded since 1 April 1999;

  2. The Special Duty Quota of Auxiliary Police Force was abolished on 1 April 1999. An amount of money would be reserved for deployment of Auxiliary Police officers to perform operational duties in case of emergencies;

  3. It would take about three to five years to reduce the establishment of HKAPF from its current level of 5 721 to 4 500 through natural wastage to cope with the revised role of the Auxiliary Police officers. Recruitment of Auxiliary Police officers would continue and be maintained at the rate of 150 per year from 1999-2000 onwards; and

  4. A total of 26 days training would be provided to Auxiliary Police officers.
28. Dir of Ops further said that the Force was aware of the public's concern on the impact of the review of HKAPF on the regular Police officers. Over 1 000 posts were created in the regular Force to provide leave and training reserve. In 1996-99, 933 posts had been created in respect of front-line operation and an additional 179 posts would be created in 1999-2000. The regular Police officers were now up to the establishment. Since the implementation of the recommendations of the review on 1 April 1999, there were still about 120 to 150 Auxiliary Police officers in each division. On the basis that an Auxiliary Police officer undertook four hours' practical training (beat duty) in a day, there would be about eight to ten Auxiliary Police officers on beat duties in each division daily.

29. Commandant, Hong Kong Auxiliary Police Force (Commandant) declared that he was not a member of the civil service and he received no remuneration from the Government. He said that though he supported the recommendations of the Force Committee on the Auxiliary Police (FCAP), the pace of implementing FCAP's recommendations was too rapid. The findings and recommendations of FCAP were announced on 31 March 1999 and that the effective date for implementation was 1 April 1999. Given that the days following 1 April 1999 were public holidays and that members of the Auxiliary Police Force came from all walks of life, it was difficult to have all members concerned be informed of the changes within such a short period of time. Some members could only learn the recommendations from press reports. Many Auxiliary Force members expressed dissatisfaction with the review and considered that they were now of little importance to the regular Force.

Presentation from the Concern Group on the Force Committee on the Auxiliary Police (the Concern Group)
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 2275/98-99(01))

30. The salient points of the views from the Concern Group were summarized as follows -

  1. The contribution of the Auxiliary Police Force was neglected having regard to the revised role and the proposed changes to the establishment of the Auxiliary Police Force;

  2. The Concern Group questioned the rationale for requiring an Auxiliary Police officer to be accompanied by a regular Police officer while performing beat duties and an unproportionate reduction in the establishment of the Auxiliary Police at the rank of inspector or above;

  3. The engagement of Auxiliary Police officers were considered value for money because their remuneration was lower than that of the regular Force members even though both were performing similar duties. To redefine the role of HKAPF was a waste of resources such as training, and hence a violation with the spirit of the Enhanced Productivity Programme;

  4. The Auxiliary Police officers would have no practical experience for performing operational duties in case of emergencies because they were no longer required to perform operational duties; and

  5. There was a lack of communication from FCAP in the course of conducting the review. The recommendations made by FCAP were unreasonable and the pace of implementing the recommendations were too rapid and hence the morale of the Auxiliary Police Force had been destroyed.
Response from the Administration

31. Dir of Ops said that the implementation date for some of the recommendations was deferred from April to June 1999 having regard to the feedback from the regular Police Force and the Auxiliary Police Force members. The Force had explained the details of the review to the Auxiliary Police officers through briefings conducted by the Regular Commanders of their respective divisions commencing in May 1999.

DiscussionAbolition of Special Duty Quota

32. Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong said that the abolition of the Special Duty Quota in such a short duration not only affected the esteems of the Auxiliary Police officers, but also upset their daily life. Given that the recommendations of FCAP were implemented immediately after its announcement, Mr CHEUNG asked whether it was due to a surplus of Auxiliary Police officers in the past.

33. In response, Dir of Ops stressed that the Force had no intention to disband the Auxiliary Police or neglect their contribution. Misunderstanding might be due to difficulties encountered in communicating and explaining thoroughly to all the members of Auxiliary Police Force about the recommendations within a short period of time. He explained that the Force intended to reduce the establishment from some 5 700 to 4 500 in three to five years' time through natural wastage. The Auxiliary Police officers were expected to assume an important role in performing key point protection and station defence duties in an internal security situation. As regards the abolition of the Special Duty Quota, Dir of Ops clarified that having regard to the revised role of HKAPF, it was considered that there was no longer a need to maintain the Quota. Instead, every member of HKAPF must undergo, amongst others, 96 hours practical training (beat duty). There would be, on average, about eight to ten Auxiliary Police officers on beat duties daily in each division on the basis that a member would undergo four hours practical training (beat duty) in any one day. He cited, for example, 1 129 man days and some 1 000 man days were used by Auxiliary Police officers to perform beat duties as part of their practical training were recorded in Kowloon West region and Hong Kong Island region respectively in April 1999, i.e. after the abolition of the Special Duty Quota. In addition, the Force had to give due consideration to the cost-effectiveness of maintaining the daily quota of 538 Auxiliary Police officers having regard to the fact that the regular Police Force was now up to establishment.

34. Miss CHAN Yuen-han wondered why the recommendations had to be implemented within such a short period of time. She considered that the Administration should assess the impact of the recommendations from the policy point of view. Deputy Secretary for Security 1 (DS(S)1) said that the Committee had fully examined all relevant factors when drawing up the recommendations. As explained earlier, one of the main reasons for redefining the role of HKAPF was that the regular Police Force was now up to establishment and had sufficient manpower to perform front-line operational duties. Notwithstanding that the pace of implementing the recommendations might be considered too rapid, the Administration had no intention to disband HKAPF. The Administration would closely oversee the implementation of the recommendations arising from the review including the abolition of the Special Duty Quota so as to ensure that the Police Force's capability in maintaining law and order in Hong Kong would not be undermined. A six-month trial of the proposed integration of Auxiliary Police officers with regular Police Force had started on 1 June 1999. A review would be conducted upon the completion of the trial. The Force management would continue its dialogue with HKAPF over the implementation of the remaining recommendations.

35. Mr Andrew CHENG said that the Auxiliary Police officers were capable of performing operational duties independently in the past. He therefore questioned the rationale for the proposed integration of Auxiliary Police officers with regular Police Force. Although a review would be conducted after the six-month trial, he considered that the recent implementation of the recommendations had destroyed the established mutual trust between the Auxiliary and the regular Police Force.

Practical training (beat duty)

36. Mr CHEUNG Man-kwong expressed reservations about the effectiveness of requiring Auxiliary Police officers to undergo practical training so as to enable them to perform operational duties in case of emergencies. It would be a waste of public money if the Auxiliary Police officers failed to perform operational duties when the need did arise simply because of lacking practical experience. Mr CHEUNG considered that training should be provided for performing front-line operational duties. Dir of Ops said that an amount of money was reserved for deployment of Auxiliary Police officers when the need arose. Hence, the Force had to ensure that Auxiliary Police officers were capable of performing operational duties in conjunction with the regular Police officers through the provision of practical training.

37. Dr LUI Ming-wah said that should the Administration consider a reform of the Auxiliary Police Force be in need, it should carry out a thorough reform instead of a piecemeal one. He considered that the provision of practical training (beat duty) could not enable Auxiliary Police officers to perform the duties of their revised role such as crowd control.

38. DS(S)1 said that the key recommendation of the review was to redefine the role of HKAPF. Auxiliary Police officers mainly served as a trained manpower reserve to support the regular Police Force in crowd management operations during major public events and festivals. Operational duties would be performed by the regular Police officers. Training for Auxiliary Police officers would be modified to tie in with the revised role and functions of HKAPF.

Manpower of the regular Police Force

39. Referring to the submission from a member of the Auxiliary Police Force (LC Paper No. CB(2) 2232/98-99), Mr Andrew CHENG asked how the Force management sustained its claim that the regular Police Force was now up to establishment having regard to the fact that recruitment for Police officers was an on-going exercise. Miss CHAN Yuen-han opined that the Force management should not disband HKAPF after securing fundings for the creation of over 2 000 additional posts in the regular Police Force.

40. In reply, DS(S)1 clarified that the regular Police Force now had sufficient manpower to perform front-line duties as some 1 000 leave and training reserve posts had been created through savings achieved internally in the past few years. No additional resources had been sought in this context. Dir of Ops added that recruitment of Police officers was required, even though the regular Force was now up to establishment, to replace natural wastage.


41. Miss CHAN Yuen-han commented that there was no consultation in respect of the recommendations. Dir of Ops pointed out that the review Committee consisted of officers from HKAPF.

42. As members still had serious concern about the review of HKAPF, Mrs Selina CHOW suggested to examine the issues in greater depth at another meeting subject to the agreement of the Chairman. To facilitate discussion, Mrs Selina CHOW requested the Administration to provide the following information -Adm
  1. the savings that could be achieved by implementing the recommendations;

  2. the objectives of the review; and

  3. the reasons for not conducting a comprehensive consultation on the implementation of the recommendations of the review.
VI. Preventive measures against illegal immigration
(LC Paper No. CB(2) 2220/98-99(07))

43. Owing to time constraint, the item was deferred to a meeting to be scheduled. (Post-meeting note : A special Panel meeting was held on 29 June 1999 at 2:30 pm to discuss items V and VI.)

44. The meeting ended at 4:40 pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat
23 July 1999