on 11 February 1999
Legislative Council Panel on Security
Police Force Service Quality Improvements
This paper informs Members on steps being taken to bring about a change in service attitude among members of the Police Force. It also elaborates on the procedures for processing certain categories of reports received from the public and the training provided to Police officers to handle such cases.
2. We submitted a paper to this Panel on 5 November setting out the details of a planned station improvement project which is part of the Police Force's efforts to improve the quality of services provided to the public. Whilst supporting the project in principle, Members opined that in addition to providing physical improvements to Police stations, the service attitude of Police officers was of the utmost importance in providing quality services. Members would therefore like to know the steps being taken to bring about a change in service attitude among members of the Police Force to meet the expectations of the public.
3. In addition, some Members expressed concern that Police officers in the report room might turn away victims in cases relating to fraud, transactions with foreign exchange companies and alleged harassment and intimidation by private developers on residents by advising them that these cases could not be dealt with by the Police as they were non-criminal matters. Members therefore asked for clarification on the existing procedures and guidelines regarding the handling of these reports as well as training provided to front-line Police officers.
Measures to improve service attitude
4. As explained in the paper on "Service Culture: Improvement to Police Stations" submitted on 5 November 1998, a service quality approach has been adopted by the Force management with a view to bringing about a change in culture and working attitudes within the Force since 1994. To enhance the quality of services provided to the public, it is important that every member of the Police Force is committed to building a quality culture with a strong sense of common purpose and shared values throughout the Force.
5. The Force formally launched the Force Vision, Statement of Common Purpose and Values in 1997. The Force Values are -
- Integrity and honesty
- Respect for the right of members of the public and the Force
- Fairness, impartiality and compassion in all dealings
- Acceptance of responsibility and accountability
- Dedication to quality service and continuous improvement
- Responsiveness to change
- Effective communication both inside and outside the Force
6. A series of Living-the-Value Workshops have been held for officers of all ranks in the Force with a view to cultivating the Force Values among every member of the Force. Through the workshops, the Force management can identify potential barriers to the implementation of the Force Values and ways to overcome the problems. In addition, the workshops provided good channels for officers of all ranks to exchange their views on the adoption of these values within the Force.
7. In view of the favourable response on the staff side, the Force management has started a second round of Living-the-Values Workshops. It is expected that the Force Values, including a dedication to quality services, would be adopted by every member of the Force and be incorporated into the Force Culture gradually.
8. In addition, the subject of service quality and service attitude is covered by the present training curriculum at the Police Training School and the continuation training. The concept is fostered among members of the Force by way of lectures, seminars and practical workshops and continuous reinforcement by senior staff in their daily work.
9. Based on the findings of the pilot scheme at North Point Police Station, staff's attitude has been identified as one of the major areas for the longer term and strategic improvement. Taking account of the basic customer training provided to the Police officers working at North Point Police Station, further training will be designed and incorporated into the standard Force training programme to improve the manner and response of officers to meet different customer needs.
Procedures and training for handling reports from the public
10. When receiving a report from the public, the Police officer concerned would firstly examine and determine whether it discloses a crime. If a Duty Officer of the report room is satisfied that a crime has occurred, the report will be entered in the computer system and be referred to the Crime Investigation Team for investigation. If the report does not disclose any crime, e.g. disputes and complaints against other government departments, the case will be recorded in the computer system and necessary assistance or advice would be given where appropriate. The Police officer would also explain the limitation of Police power in that case in details. The procedures are set out in the Force Procedure Manual which also contain a list of crimes for Police officers' reference.
11. All Police officers are required to study Criminal Law which constitutes a significant portion of the basic training syllabus. On graduation, officers should be able to distinguish whether or not an allegation or incident is criminal in nature. In addition, the Duty Officer of a report room is normally an experienced Station Sergeant who should be able to determine if a report is criminal in nature. If he/she has any doubt, he/she will refer the case to the Crime Investigation Team on duty. Again, if a Crime officer is not sure as to the classification of a case, he/she will consult his/her Assistance Divisional Commander (Crime) who is at Chief Inspector level. For serious or complicated cases, the advice of the Department of Justice will also be sought if in doubt.
12. As regards disputes between landlords and tenants, the Police would act according to the Landlord and Tenant (Consolidation) Ordinance which provides protection for a tenant subject to harassment by his landlord attempting to induce the tenant to prematurely terminate his/her occupancy of premises against his/her will. In other words, it is an offence for a landlord to unlawfully deprive a tenant of his/her occupation of premises, or of his/her rights to parts of the premises. Such harassment includes any act which interferes with the tenant's peace and comfort, or the withdrawal of services, such as water or electricity, reasonably required for the occupation of premises. Internal orders have been issued to explain the law and how such dispute cases should be processed. If the Duty Officer is satisfied that a criminal offence has been committed, the case will be referred to the Crime Investigation Team for further investigation. On the contrary, if no criminal offence is disclosed, the case will be referred to the Commissioner for Rating and Evaluation for information or mediation.
13. In addition, the Police have taken a very serious view on the increasing debt collecting malpractice. A new internal order has been recently introduced to deal with such complaints. Like other cases, where allegations of a criminal nature are suggested, the cases would be referred to the Crime Investigation Team for investigation immediately. Where the nature and circumstances of a case requires, the case will be taken over by a higher level of investigation units. If it is established that the debt collecting is an organized crime , reporting and investigation procedures laid down in accordance with the Organized and Serious Crime Ordinance will be followed. Even if a case is classified as "No Offence Disclosed" or "Nuisance Only", the case will be monitored until such time that there is a satisfactory conclusion to the investigation or there is an end to the nuisance and harassment. In addition, all possible steps would be taken to assure victims and witnesses of their confidentiality, well-being and safety.