10 June 1999
Legislative Council Panel on Security
Review of the Hong Kong Auxiliary Police Force
This paper informs Members of the results of a review recently conducted on the Hong Kong Auxiliary Police Force (HKAPF) and the implementation of the recommendations arising from it.
2.The HKAPF was established in 1957 and the main duty was to support the regular Police Force in maintaining law and order during periods of instability. In 1972, the role of HKAPF was expanded to cover beat duties because of the deteriorating crime situation and the recruitment problem faced by the Police Force at that time. The law and order situation of Hong Kong has greatly improved over the years. The crime rates of 1997 and 1998 were kept at a very low level. Above all, the regular Police Force is now up to establishment and has sufficient manpower to perform frontline operational duties. The Force management therefore see a need to review the HKAPF with a view to improving its management and deployment in the light of changing circumstances.
3. A Committee consisting of regular Police officers and officers from the HKAPF including its Deputy Commandant was set up in November 1998 to conduct a comprehensive review of the HKAPF. The results were announced in mid-March 1999. Copies of the review report were sent to Members for information in April 1999.
Implementation of the Results of the Review
4.The Committee has made a total of 33 recommendations covering the role, establishment, organization structure, recruitment and training of the HKAPF. They are summarized at Chapter 8 of the review report. Of the 33 recommendations, 13 were identified for immediate implementation while the others will be phased in over the next several years. Details are set out in the ensuing paragraphs.
Role of the HKAPF
5.Taking account of the existing manpower situation of the regular Police Force, the Committee found that the case for Auxiliary Police officers to take up beat duties is no longer as strong as before. Based on the actual operational requirements, the role of the HKAPF has been redefined with effect from 1 April 1999. Auxiliary Police officers mainly serve as a trained manpower reserve to support the regular Police Force in crowd management operations during major public events and festivals. In addition, their main functions in an internal security situation are confined to key points protection, manning the command and control centres, Police station defence and consular premises protection. With the revised role, Auxiliary Police officers have no longer been deployed to undertake traffic or driving duties since 1 April 1999. The Emergency Units and Special Duty Companies of the HKAPF have also been disbanded since then.
Special Duty Quota
6.The Special Duty Quota was introduced in early 1970's to govern the deployment of Auxiliary Police officers for operational duties. The present daily quota of 538 Auxiliary Police officers is distributed among different Police formations with most officers deployed on beat duties. With the revised role of the HKAPF, there is no longer a need to maintain the Quota which was therefore abolished on 1 April 1999. Instead, an amount of money will be reserved for deployment of Auxiliary Police officers when such a need arises.
Establishment and recruitment of the HKAPF
7.Based on the revised role of Auxiliary Police officers, the Committee estimated that the required establishment of the HKAPF should be around 4500. It would take about three to five years to reduce the establishment from its current level of 5721 to 4500 through natural wastage. However, in order to ensure that properly motivated and civic minded people still have a chance to join the HKAPF, recruitment of Auxiliary Police officers will continue and be maintained at the rate of 150 per year from 1999/2000 onwards.
Organization structure of the HKAPF
8. In line with the revised role and reduced establishment of the HKAPF, there is a need to make corresponding changes to its organization structure so as to streamline the management. In addition, to further improve the manpower deployment and supervision of the HKAPF and to enhance the sense of belonging of Auxiliary Police officers, the Committee has devised an organization structure that can facilitate full integration of the HKAPF with the regular Police Force. As the proposed structure is based on the establishment level of 4500 which is expected to be achieved through natural wastage in three to five years, an interim structure was drawn up and promulgated on 1 April 1999.
9.The revised job descriptions and postings of all Auxiliary Police officers based on the new organization structure were announced in April 1999. A six-month trial on the proposed integration of Auxiliary Police officers with regular Police Force will start on 1 June 1999. Regional Implementation Teams comprising regular and Auxiliary Police commanders based in each Police District will monitor all new procedures and the distribution of Auxiliary manpower. Auxiliary Police officers will be allocated to the Patrol Sub-units of their respective Districts or Divisions and perform operational duties in conjunction with regular Police officers. A review will be conducted upon the completion of the trial. Feedback will be collated during the trial period with a view to formally implementing the proposal in January 2000.
10.The training for Auxiliary Police officers has also been modified since 1 April 1999 to tie in with the revised role and functions of the HKAPF. The Statutory Efficiency Training, i.e. the training requirement that every member of the HKAPF must comply with in each year of service under the Hong Kong Auxiliary Police Force Regulations, has been revised to -
Recommendations to be implemented later
- 7 consecutive days -- Annual Continuation Training (includes one range course);
- 1 day (two 4-hour sessions) - range course;
- 3 days (one 4-hour session every two months) - training day;
- 3 days (24 hours) - practical training (crowd management and pre-planned operations); and
- 12 days (96 hours) - practical training (beat duty).
11. Out of the 33 recommendations, 20 are considered as not urgent and/or require further studies. They include a review of the syllabus of the basic training and promotion courses for Auxiliary Police officers, a revision of their performance appraisal system and a review of the Auxiliary Discipline Regulations and Procedures. To further examine these issues, the membership of the Committee has been extended to include the four Auxiliary Senior Superintendents at Auxiliary Headquarters who are responsible for the training, human resource, administration/support and operations matters of the HKAPF.
Impact on the Support to the Regular Police Force
12. The main objective of the review is to enhance the management and manpower deployment of the HKAPF to meet the actual operational needs of the Police Force in the changing circumstances. The HKAPF will continue to play an important role in providing support to the regular Police Force.
13. The Committee has fully examined all relevant factors when drawing up its recommendations. It comprises representatives from the five land Regions who have reported the progress and findings of the review at their respective Regional Command and Management Conferences on a regular basis. Possible impacts of the recommendations on the normal operation of the Police Force have been assessed at the District level and reported back to the Committee. Since the implementation of some of the recommendations in April 1999, neither the normal operation of the Police Force nor any Police operations have been adversely affected. In addition, District Commanders have not found any difficulties in their daily manpower deployment.
14. As explained above, one of the main reasons for redefining the role of the HKAPF is that the regular Police Force is now up to establishment and has sufficient manpower to perform front-line operational duties. In fact, over 2000 additional Police officers have been deployed to perform front-line duties since 1992. Although the Special Duty Quota has been replaced since 1 April 1999, Auxiliary officers will continue to perform operational duties including crowd management and beat duties as part of their practical training. An amount of money will also be reserved for the deployment of Auxiliary Police officers to perform operational duties in case of emergencies. In April 1999, more than 2400 man days were used by Auxiliary Police officers to perform crowd management and beat duties as part of their practical training. Implementing the recommendations arising from the review including the replacement of the Special Duty Quota will not therefore undermine the Police Force's capability in maintaining law and order in Hong Kong. On the contrary, the management and manpower deployment of the HKAPF will be further enhanced to meet the actual operational needs of the Police Force.
15. The Committee, in consultation with Auxiliary Police officers and regular Police officers at different levels, will closely oversee the implementation of the recommendations arising from the review. It will continue their dialogue with the HKAPF over the implementation of the remaining 20 recommendations. Regular Police officers will continue to join hands with Auxiliary Police officers in maintaining the law and order of Hong Kong.