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Speech by SLW at Police College Passing-out Parade

     Following is the speech (English translation) by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, at the Passing-out Parade at the Police College today (October 18):

Commissioner Tang (King-shing), Director Cheuk (Chun-yin, Albert), graduates, ladies and gentlemen,

     I am very honoured to join you at today's Passing Out Parade for over 180 inspectors and constables.  The graduates have demonstrated their physical prowess and talent in passing through the intensely competitive recruitment process and gruelling training programme, whilst the spirited parade shows your pride in joining the Hong Kong Police Force.

     Indeed, the Hong Kong Police Force is not only Asia's finest but also ranks among the elite police forces in the world.  Its exemplary performance in the World Trade Organisation Sixth Ministerial Conference in 2005, the ITU Telecom World in 2006, and the Equestrian Events in the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games has fully demonstrated the capability, efficiency and professionalism of the Hong Kong Police Force in meeting the most stringent security requirements of these large-scale events.

     Hong Kong people have held our Police in high regard and trust for many years, as attested by the results of public opinion polls and surveys.  The trust has been founded on the integrity and impartial practices of the Police Force.  The rising academic qualifications of our police constables have also added to its image of professionalism and earned the respect of the community.  In the past decade, the percentage of degree holders at the recruit constable level has increased from 3.5% to 11.8%.  Also, more women are joining the ranks of the police force.  The overall percentage of female officers has increased from 11.7% in 1998 to 14.3% today.  In particular, for ranks at Inspectors and above, the percentage of female officers has increased from 16.1% in 1998 to 20.8% in 2008.  This reflects the culture of gender equality in Hong Kong and also affirms the capability of women in undertaking the arduous duties in law enforcement.  

     After today's graduation ceremony, you will be assigned to serve the community in different posts.  Many of you will carry out duties in fighting crime and protecting people.  I would naturally be pleased if you can exercise your skills and talent in combating serious crime.  But the duties of the Police in "protecting people", which seem to be less glamorous, have grown increasingly important in recent years.  Nowadays, in addition to taking up the role of a law enforcer, a police officer may be called upon to perform as a first-aider, social worker, counsellor, negotiator and even mid-wife as the occasions demand.  Therefore, you must be versatile, like a Swiss Army knife, and be prepared to serve the community in all kinds of emergencies.

     In fact, in your day-to-day duties you will be handling domestic violence cases. The Government is committed to combating domestic violence, which has sparked growing public concern in recent years.  Indeed, we have steadily increased funds for strengthening the dedicated services and support for victims of domestic violence and other families in need over the past few years, and will devote additional resources to this area in the coming year.  Specific measures include intensifying manpower support, further developing the batterer intervention programme (BIP), enhancing support for various refuge and crisis centres, and continuing to strengthen public education.   

     In tackling domestic violence, the Police has a pivotal role to play.  Since 2006, the Commissioner for Police has set "professionally responding to and investigating all reports of violent crime, including domestic violence" at the top of his Operational Targets, which testifies to the importance the Police has attached to handling domestic violence.  Over the past few years, the Police has also launched a series of enhanced measures on handling domestic violence, including risk identification, follow-up investigation, service referral, training for frontline staff and inter-departmental collaboration.  I believe that you have also received training in these areas in the Police College and should be well equipped for your future responsibilities in tackling the abusers and protecting victims of domestic violence.  Apart from handling domestic violence cases, colleagues in the Police Force are at the forefront in handling cases of young people who have gone astray or abused substances.  Your work has greatly facilitated other departments in following up these cases and helped promote harmony in families and communities.  I would like to take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt thanks to Commissioner Tang and all members of the Police Force.  

     Last but not least, I wish you all good health, a fulfilling career with a bright future and every happiness in your families.  Thank you.

Ends/Saturday, October 18, 2008
Issued at HKT 09:45


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