Since the modern police was built in London in1829, the role of modern police had an initial consensus (Sullivan, 1977). However, the appropriate role and the suitable functions as a modern police have provoked a great deal of controversy. The first question arises is what the role of police is actually? Therefore, we will discuss this question with one of the modern cities, Hong Kong. On the other hand, Hong Kong, as a modern city, has placed greater emphasis on the 'service' rather than the 'force' element in the police role.
There remains a second question: is it more appropriate to change the name of Hong Kong Police Force to Hong Kong Police Services? The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of Hong Kong police with reference to the historical change of Hong Kong Police role. After knowing the actual several of police, we will discuss whether the name should change from Hong Kong Police Force to police service. Part. A Discuss the role of police in Hong Kong. A good place to start is to examine the role of police in Hong Kong.
It is helpful to describe the history of Hong Kong Police before understanding the roles of the police. On the Historical changes discussed the changing role of Hong Kong Police 1. Early colonial days – Hong Kong Police as Paramilitary and law enforcer In the early colonial days, the Royal Hong Kong Police is established as a para-military organization. When British seized Hong Kong forcibly from China, the Hong Kong Police was officially established on first of May 1844 (Hong Kong Police Force, n. d. ) in consideration of favouring an armed force similar to that of the Royal Irish Constabulary (Traver, 1994, p.
30). The colonial Government feared that the mainland Chinese Government and the influx of the Chinese population might cause great instability in Hong Kong. Also, Hong Kong did not have a sufficient military force to defend itself and had to rely on the police as 'the state's "reserve army" to maintain the legal order, to bring the masses into conformity, to protect the capitalist mode of production and to preserve the status quo' (Lo, 1993, p. 105). Therefore, there has had a paramilitary character and law enforcer since the early years in the colonial history.
However, the traditional confrontational and top-down approach to commanding social obedience had generated a massive amount of tension between the police and the public (Lo, C et al. , 2002). Besides, corruption is serious in the police force. The police had no accountability in exercising force. The public is therefore hostile towards the police force. 2. Later decades – Hong Kong Police as a Crime-fighter and Order maintainer Particularly in the 1960s and 1970s, crime 1has increased in Hong Kong (Traver, 1984).
To focus on controlling crime and tackling the problem of fear of crime, the Hong Kong Police had developed into a more professional agency for crime tackling and peace keeping. Many services, such as disease control or ambulance service, were diverted to other agencies. The role of law enforcement and order maintenance of the police has been emphasized. They also liaise with various professional bodies that represent the banking, hotel, jewellery, property development, insurance, security, motor vehicle and property management sectors.
They help refine the provisions of the Security and Guarding Services Ordinance and initiate annual reinspections of licensed security companies to ensure that the quality standards imposed upon the industry by the legislation are maintained. 3. After riots – Hong Kong Police as a community service provider Riots are the milestone for the HK police to concern about public relations, after the riots2 in 1966-67, there had a decline of public trust of the police.
In order to relax the tense police-public relations, foster preliminary public support for facilitating crime control, the police established the Police Public Information Bureau (PPIC). The introduction of the Police Community Relations Officer (PCRO) Scheme, followed by other community-based policing programmes such as the Junior Police Call (JPC) Scheme, the Police School Liaison (PSL) scheme and the Neighbourhood Police Unit (NPU) scheme, has brought the Hong Kong Police Force into a new era of policing that adopt a community orientation in crime control.
The Hong Kong Police is adopting a more community-based and service-based policing style and putting more emphasis in community participation in crime control. 4. The role of the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) nowadays The police are primarily responsible for the maintenance of law and order. Police role is expanded from merely crime control to include issues related to fear, order maintenance, conflict resolution, area decay, disorder. The HKPF management has laid out their operational priorities in four areas, that is crime control, emergency response, order maintenance and community relations.
These priorities include: maintaining a strong visible uniform police presence; providing fast, effective response to emergencies and major incidents; using new technology, knowledge and equipment to enhance operational efficiency; strengthening the effectiveness of the criminal intelligence system; and enlisting public assistance and support in the fight against crime. These wide ranges of duties constitute to the three main roles of the HKPF: crime control, order maintenance and service.
In short, we understand that the role of HK police is a variable which is changing from time to time affected by many factors such as political system, the environment and so on. However, there is a fix value that is the core responsibility of police such as protecting citizens by attacking crime in which we expect what the police must do. What the Hong Kong Police actually does? Let us devote a little more space to examining what the HK police actually do in order to understand its real role. According to some research conducted by the scholars3, the police work does not encompass by terms as law enforcement or crime control.
Also, Sharpland and Vagg study (1990) argued that service and force roles are not distinguishable and they are interdependent. By considering the structure of the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) and some community-based policing scheme as an example, we can find out by considering both law enforcement and social service tasks. Force: Law enforcement (Crime Control): Crime prevention in the HKPF is a major police operation emphasised at all levels. At the street level, beat patrol officers are deployed in a way that makes them highly visible. Visibility is a goal in itself and is widely considered as an effective crime prevention measure.
The beat officers are also given wide power and authority such as stop and search, which is believed to be another effective measure for crime prevention. Other units such as the emergency unit, crime unit, vice unit, and traffic unit at the district and regional levels also maximise their presence on the street. At the force level, the crime prevention Bureau plays a significant role in educating the public about crime prevention. The officers from the bureau promote the concepts of crime prevention with both business premises and individual residences.
They identify government, commercial, and residential premises vulnerable to criminal attack and provide specific advice to their owners for target hardening (Hong Kong Police Review, 1997). They also liaise with various professional bodies that represent the banking, hotel, jewellery, property development, insurance, security, motor vehicle and property management sectors. They help refine the provisions of the Security and Guarding Services Ordinance and initiate annual reinspections of licensed security companies to ensure that the quality standards imposed upon the industry by the legislation are maintained.
Order Maintenance As an international financial city, the HKPF place great emphasis on maintaining public order. And because of the colonial tradition mentioned above, public order management in Hong Kong therefore has had a paramilitary character. After the 1997 handover, the HKPF continued to emphasise public order management. A crucial measure of this emphasis is the mandatory participation of every police officer in the Police Tactical Unit (PTU), which is charged with the responsibility to maintain public order.
In the 1999 Public Opinion Survey, for example, maintaining public order stood out as the most frequently mentioned and most concerned area of service and 74 per cent were satisfied with crowd management of the HKPF (University of Hong Kong, 2000). In the 2001 Public Opinion Survey, the public indicated its high confidence (73 per cent) in the HKPF, believed that the police performed well in maintaining law and order (73 per cent) and public order (71 per cent), and regarded maintaining law and order and public order two of the most important policing areas (University of Hong Kong, 2002a).
Service: Community Relation Service According to the Police Force Ordinance (Cap 232), the Hong Kong Police is responsible for providing directions, responding to emergencies, and resolving family and neighborhood disputes which is to develop police integrity and strengthen public confidence. Also, the commitment to serving the people of Hong Kong is vigorously promoted in three areas in particular , that is enhancement of the complaints against police office (CAPO), improvement of police report rooms, and opinion surveys.
Additionally, the police initiated a project to improve police report rooms, stations and the service they provide to the public to improve the quality of service (Hong Kong Police Review, 1997). On the other hand, the most significant youth programme is called junior police call (JPC), which acts as a bridge between the police and young people to help the latter develop into healthy and responsible citizens. Apart from participation in crime prevention activities, JPC members are provided with a wide range of sports, recreational, and educational programmes.
For those young persons who have committed offences, the HKPF also plays an important role in treating them. This scheme and its related programme offer the juvenile an opportunity to rebuild his or her life and to start afresh. The superintendents and officers also collaborate with other professionals such as social workers in rehabilitating the juveniles (Chan, 1998). The HKPF has devoted considerable resources to working with youths in Hong Kong for crime prevention purposes.
Overall the police have made serious efforts in enhancing their partnership and communications with the community and have tried to adhere to the values they have publicly declared to uphold. Therefore, in my opinion, it can be seen as crime prevention or service because putting effort on service lead to avoid the rise of crime which is interactive. We are able to see that the role of the HKPF in maintaining law and order and the role of providing public services is interdependent. The services provided by police may include conflict settlement or handling emergencies.
When responding to these requests, the role of the police changes between law enforcement and social service as it depends on how the police decide his/her action (force or service) and depends on different circumstances and response varies from different police officers. After all analysis, I consider that the main role of the HK police work is peace keeping. Due to the low crime rate and a colonial tradition, both service and force constitute to the ultimate goal of the Police Force – order maintenance (i. e. public order and crime prevention).