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'Police Bible' to upgrade security force
By Chen Hong (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-02-20 06:46

SHENZHEN: In Guangdong Province's affluent city of 10 million, where crime and residents' lack of confidence in police are problems, a new scheme has been launched to improve the efficiency and accountability of the force.

On January 24, the municipal public security bureau issued the Shenzhen Police General Orders, the first of its kind in the mainland modelled after Hong Kong's experiences. The scheme aims to give detailed guidelines for all the officers in the city, to restore the people's confidence in the police and to improve the management of the force.

It took more than 300 Shenzhen police staff 18 months to work out the 2.3-million-word "Police Bible." The scheme, now undergoing consultations and revisions, is expected to come into effect at the end of this year.

"We have done a lot, but it's hard to improve the security situation of a city with a more than 7 million mobile population overnight," said Hu Jian, a policeman for nearly seven years. "Now we have to face bigger challenges and pressure."

Such challenges for the city's 17,000 officers include restoring the public's faith in its police force. Locals like Zheng Jie, a computer technician from Central China's Henan Province, said residents are not well protected by the police. "Robbery, theft and even some bloody cases can be heard from friends and media now and then," he said.

Thieves have visited Zheng's rented apartment and his girlfriend was robbed at the end of last year, he said. "We sought help from the police, but they gave no answer to us yet," he said.

Chen Bo, a 30-year-old real estate analyst who has lived in the city since his childhood, also squarely pointed the blame on the police's incompetence and bureaucracy.

"Nearly all my friends felt disappointed about the policemen," he said.

To meet the rising demand for more police officers, the Nanshan District Sub-Station of Shenzhen Public Security Bureau is also launching the pilot scheme to assign some patrollers to serve as police officers.

Patrollers, usually in police wagons, are responsible for security cases such as robberies that occur in the streets.

"Actually, the local residents had a negative impression about the patrollers and believe we did nothing but wander around all day, wasting the tax-payers' money," said patrolwoman Chen Lian. "Comparatively, the performance of a community policeman is much easier to be measured and people will feel happier and safer to have more policemen around them."

Moreover, the scheme also involves another regulation, which requires the policemen and the officials to take accountability for 37 frequent violations involving criminal and security cases and administrative management.

The public could get the full copy of the regulation from the bureau's website. People could lodge their complaints to the discipline supervision department of the bureau if they were treated impolitely, indifferently or rudely.

The offenders would face such punishments as getting fired, or receiving a written warning..

Despite the efforts to upgrade the force, new patrolwoman Chen was worried that people's complaints will rise, which will directly hurt her ability to do her job well. "Policemen are also human beings," she said. "We also have emotional moments and won't be happy if we were always kept busy and working overtime."

Nonetheless, Shen Kai, a senior lawyer, believes the new "Police Bible" will help regulate the police force, introduce further democracy and transparency into the force.

"It's undoubtedly a big progress," he told China Daily. "But the most important thing is how they implement the orders and new regulations."

He also asked the local residents to be more understanding towards the police since "most of them are working hard to maintain the security of the city, but a very small number damaged their overall images."

(China Daily 02/20/2006 page3)

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