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Police welcome IPCC interim report on complaint cases arising from Vice Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Hong Kong

     The Force today (May 3) welcomes the Independent Police Complaints Council's (IPCC) submission of an interim report to the Chief Executive on May 2, covering its observations on complaint investigations surrounding Vice Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Hong Kong between August 16 and 18, 2011. It is pleased to note the Council's endorsement of nine of the cases submitted by Complaints Against Police Office (CAPO) and looks forward to continuing its full support of the Council in bringing those cases which remain outstanding to an early conclusion.

     To ensure complaints arising from the Vice Premier's visit were dealt with expeditiously and as thoroughly as possible, a special duty team was established at an early stage to investigate and work with the Serious Complaints Committee of IPCC. A total of 79 statements were taken, whilst 18 scene visits and 12 Informal Resolution Interviews were conducted. IPCC Observers attended 106 of these elements of the process.  

     The Force recognises the importance of IPCC's oversight role in the complaints mechanism and acknowledges the queries the Council highlights in its interim report. These cover three areas and pertain to five of the cases submitted by CAPO which have yet to be endorsed.

     The first of these relates to the process for identification of complainees. As has been the case with all complaint cases the Force receives, it is the duty of CAPO to identify and register complainees prior to conducting whatever further enquiries that may be appropriate. Registration of complainees is always considered on a case by case basis, and in alignment with established protocols whereby the specific nature of any allegation, or particular circumstances of a case, are taken into account.  The Force respects the wish of the Council to consider also the more senior commanders' role in the operations, in addition to the conduct of frontline officers directly involved in the implementation of the operations. Accordingly, six command level officers have already attended IPCC interview on February 17 and 20, 2012 to not only brief IPCC on details of security arrangements, but also explain the actions they have taken at scene.

     Secondly, in its interim report the Council also highlights that it has raised query on the need to conduct full investigation wherever practicable. Once again, in this area CAPO adheres to the standard protocols it has agreed with IPCC in assessing when to initiate full complaint investigation. These protocols set out the circumstances under which a complaint should be fully investigated or instead registered with an alternative classification such as 'Not Pursuable' or 'Withdrawn'. According to the current agreed protocols, a complaint will be classified as 'Not Pursuable' if 'it has not been possible to obtain the co-operation of the complainant to proceed with the complaint investigation'. The Force notes the wish of the Council to see full investigations being conducted whenever practicable.  The Force will continue to exchange views with the Council to see how their queries can be addressed in a way that is fair to all stakeholders, whilst ensuring attempts, if any, to abuse the complaints system itself are frustrated.

     Thirdly, in its interim report the Council outlines a request for access to all relevant operational orders and other related documents aligned to the Vice Premier visit operation. In fact, CAPO has been co-operating fully with IPCC in seeking to resolve the Council's concerns in this area. CAPO has provided IPCC with extracts of the operational orders which are relevant, and in CAPO's view, sufficient to allow IPCC's consideration of individual complaints. Whilst determined to assist IPCC as fully as it can, the Force retains its concern, that full disclosure of restricted documents, such as orders may expose police operational details and capabilities, thereby undermining similar police operations in future. That said, CAPO notes the concerns raised by IPCC in these areas and will seriously consider how to further address the Council's needs.

     The working relationship between IPCC and CAPO is founded on mutually agreed protocols and practical working agreements. These have been designed to allow all complaints, inclusive of those aligned to the Vice Premier's visit, to be handled in a manner which is fair to all the parties involved.

     At all times during its approach towards complaints arising from the Vice Premier's visit, CAPO has worked independently, and upheld the highest levels of impartiality and professionalism through adoption of the protocols and agreements described.

     CAPO will continue to assist the IPCC, whilst the Force as a whole will now critically review those cases already endorsed in order to identify any areas for improvement.

Police Report No. 197
Issued by PPRB

Ends/Thursday, May 3, 2012
Issued at HKT 18:37


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