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LCQ18: Police committed to tying in with the Government in promoting equal opportunities

     Following is a question by the Hon Emily Lau and a written reply by the Secretary for Security, Mr Lai Tung-kwok, in the Legislative Council today (January 28):


     It has been reported that during a police operation to disperse supporters of the road occupation movement in Mong Kok on November 26 last year, some police officers allegedly hurled discriminatory remarks at a protestor of South Asian descent.  Some members of the public are concerned whether police officers have received adequate training on racial equality.  In this connection, will the Executive Authorities inform this Council:

(1) how many workshops were organised by the Police in collaboration with the Equal Opportunities Commission for raising serving police officers' awareness of racial equality, and how many police officers participated in such workshops, in each year since the enactment of the Race Discrimination Ordinance (Cap. 602) in 2008;

(2) of the respective contents of the courses on human rights and racial equality, as well as the respective proportions of such courses, in the regular training courses for police officers at rank-and-file level and those of the Inspectorate rank; and

(3) whether they have provided training courses on human rights and racial equality to police officers at senior levels; if so, of the ranks of the target trainees; if not, whether they will consider providing such training courses; if they will not, of the reasons for that?



     The Police have been providing services to the public in an impartial and respectful manner without discrimination.  Police officers shall, in accordance with relevant legislation and policies, ensure that all citizens receiving services shall be given equal treatment, irrespective of their gender, family status, race and whether or not they are disabled.  The Police are also committed to tying in with the Government in promoting equal opportunities and eliminating all forms of discrimination.  Elements of equal opportunities have been included in the "Force Vision, Common Purpose and Values" since 1996 to instill among police officers the concept of maintaining harmony with people of different cultures, backgrounds and races on the basis of mutual respect.  In addition, the Police established a Working Group on Non-ethnic Chinese in 2006 to review and appraise mechanisms and initiatives within the Force that relate to ethnic minority issues, develop means to enhance dialogue and engagement with ethnic minority communities, and formulate a policing strategy to work in partnership with ethnic minority communities to fight crime.  Upon the full implementation of the Race Discrimination Ordinance (RDO) (Cap 602) in 2009, the Police issued departmental instructions in the same year to require police officers to get well acquainted with RDO's requirements and relevant regulations.

     In addition, the Police have been keeping in touch with the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau and the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) in strengthening their officers' professional sensitivity to issues relating to human rights and equal opportunities on various fronts and guiding them to discharge their duties and responsibilities in a fair, just and impartial manner, with respect of human rights, as well as to serve the community with fairness and compassion.

     The Administration's reply to Hon Emily Lau's question is as follows:

(1) Following the implementation of the RDO, the Police, in conjunction with the EOC, have conducted a series of large-scale workshops for police staff, including the civilian, to enhance their understanding of racial equality issues through explanation on the ordinance.  The Police have also produced Training Day package on the RDO to raise police officers' awareness on racial equality required in the delivery of services to the public.

     Starting from 2012, the workshop hosted by the EOC on "The Introduction to Anti-discrimination Ordinances in Hong Kong" has been included in the Junior Command Courses for Inspectors/Senior Inspectors to provide attendees with a detailed explanation of the anti-discrimination legislation in Hong Kong, including the RDO.  So far, a total of 21 workshops were organised for 371 Inspectors/Senior Inspectors.  Furthermore, during their foundation training and continuation development programmes, police officers receive relevant training on the provisions of and requirements under laws including the Basic Law, the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance (HKBORO) (Cap 383) and various anti-discrimination ordinances. In the past five years, the Police provided relevant training for an average of some 2,000 new recruits and serving officers each year.

(2) and (3) The Police attach great importance to the inculcation of such values as human rights and equal opportunities for police officers. To ensure that police officers have adequate awareness of human rights and equal opportunities as well as sufficient understanding of the anti-discrimination legislation in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Police College have included topics on the protection of human and civic rights, equal opportunities and related issues in the training provided for officers of different ranks, subject to programme needs and arrangements.  

     Both the foundation training for new recruits and the training for serving officers (e.g. the criminal investigation training courses, development and promotion courses for junior police officers) have a cornucopia of topics on human and civic rights, for example, provisions of and requirements under relevant legislation including the Basic Law, the HKBORO, the Crimes (Torture) Ordinance (Cap 427) and other anti-discrimination ordinances; the concept of equal opportunities in the Force Values; and briefing on human rights and constitutional protection relating to the execution of police duties (including rights exercisable by detainees, assistance to crime victims, and personal data and privacy). As part of the foundation training, new recruits are also required to perform community services for ethnic minorities to enhance their knowledge of the cultures of non-ethnic Chinese and promote mutual understanding. In the Command Courses for officers from the Inspectorate to Superintendent rank, topics on human rights and racial equality covered include community policing, racial discrimination, and personal data and privacy etc.

     Meanwhile, the Police regulary conduct Training Days on different topics for frontline officers.  Specifically on protection of human and civil rights, the Police have produced various Training Day packages covering areas such as anti-discrimination ordinances in Hong Kong, non-ethnic Chinese religions and cultures, detainees, skills in conducting everyday stop-question-and-search, handling of abuse cases, and professional attitude and communication skills required in dealing with members of the public.

     Moreover, the Police also conduct talks and experience-sharing sessions for officers of various ranks from time to time.  Examples of which are thematic talks delivered by professionals and scholars of human rights law for officers of the Inspectorate rank or above on the balance between human rights and law enforcement, and talks held by lawyers and EOC legal advisors for officers of the Senior and Chief Superintendent rank on the latest discussions in society on such topics as sexual orientation and sexual identity.

Ends/Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Issued at HKT 15:55


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