LCQ20: Manpower of CSD

     Following is a question by the Hon Lam So-wai and a written reply by the Acting Secretary for Security, Mr Michael Cheuk, in the Legislative Council today (March 15):


     A paper submitted by the Government to the Legislative Council Panel on Security for its meeting on May 3, 2022 showed that the Correctional Services Department (CSD) had encountered enormous recruitment difficulties in recent years. As at December 31, 2021, the number of vacancies of disciplined staff in the CSD stood at over 600, representing a vacancy rate of about 9.7 per cent. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the recruitment targets and recruitment situation of the CSD in each of the past three years;

(2) as it is learnt that the wastage rate of correctional officers who have been appointed for one year is very high, of the measures in place to slow down the pace of wastage of newly-appointed officers;

(3) of the respective wastage of officers of various ranks in the CSD in each of the past three years, together with the percentages of such numbers in the total numbers of officers in the relevant ranks; and

(4) of the new measures put in place by the CSD to attract members of the public to apply for its posts?



(1) The recruitment targets and recruitment situation of the Correctional Services Department (CSD) in the past three financial years are listed as follows:
Financial Year Rank Recruitment target Actual number of new recruits
2020-2021 Officer About 50 37
Assistant Officer Year-round recruitment to fill the existing vacancies 306
2021-2022 Officer About 50 60
Assistant Officer Year-round recruitment to fill the existing vacancies 253
2022-2023* Officer About 50 6#
Assistant Officer Year-round recruitment to fill the existing vacancies 157#
Total 819
* As at February 28, 2023
# Affected by the fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the recruitment launched in the relevant financial year was delayed, with some of the recruitment procedures still in progress. As such, the figures have not fully reflected the number of new recruits to be appointed at a later date.  

(2) and (4) According to the CSD's observation and assessment, the wastage of newly-appointed officers only accounts for a small part of the overall wastage figure, and the reasons for staff wastage (including that of newly-appointed officers) are complicated, involving various factors such as personal career preferences, changes in the economic environment, manpower demands from different sectors. While correctional work is meaningful, some correctional officers who have difficulties in adapting to the relevant working environment may choose to leave the service, given the unique institutional settings, the remoteness of workplaces, the need for correctional officers to comply with stringent requirements to ensure security and discipline, as well as the occurrence of various untoward incidents in prisons, etc. 

     In October 2018, the Government invited the Standing Committee on Disciplined Services Salaries and Conditions of Service and the Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service to conduct a grade structure review for the disciplined services grades. The two committees completed the review and submitted a report in June 2021, with recommendations covering aspects such as remuneration, conditions of service and grade structure. With the approval of the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council, the recommendations on salary and increment have been implemented with effect from September 1, 2021. It is believed that the implementation of the recommendations on remuneration will help the disciplined services (including the CSD) to continue to effectively attract and retain talents.

     In view of the special job requirements of different posts in the CSD, the Department has been granting job-related allowances to correctional officers who meet the relevant eligibility requirements in accordance with the established mechanism, thereby affirming the uniqueness of their work.  

     At the same time, to further cope with the demand for manpower resources with a view to providing quality correctional services, the CSD has adopted various staff retention measures, including: 

(i) enhancing custodial efficiency and institutional security through the application of technology and review of workflow, with a view to protecting correctional officers in safely carrying out law enforcement duties and the personal safety of persons in custody. 

(ii) the development of “Smart Prison” could optimise the current working environment, thereby ensuring a more humanised and safer environment for correctional officers to perform law enforcement duties. 

(iii) as some of the correctional institutions are located in remote areas and where public transport services are inadequate, the CSD provides transport for its staff between designated locations and the relevant correctional institutions, thereby reducing their commute time. Vessels are also arranged to transport staff working at institutions in Hei Ling Chau at nighttime. 

(iv) adopting various measures to enhance the support for staff, including assisting new recruits in adapting to the working environment through the Institutional-based Mentorship Programme, and improving the institutional supporting facilities such as staff common rooms and overnight accommodation, and more.

(v) In addition, the CSD has enhanced staff training and arranged for their enrolment in various learning programmes. This would help enhance the professionalism of correctional staff, and staff members in the Assistant Officer grade may have greater chance of internal promotion and even apply for vacancies of the Officer grade.

     The CSD adopts a multi-pronged approach to attract talents. The Department participates in the annual Education & Careers Expo to deepen the public's understanding of correctional work. It also attracts the public, especially young people, to apply for its posts through a series of recruitment promotion activities, including holding recruitment talks at various tertiary institutions and secondary schools. Workshops on physical fitness and interview skills are also organised to enable more interested members of the public to have a better understanding of the requirements of different tests and acquire the interview skills, and more, so as to encourage them to apply for the relevant positions. Moreover, the CSD also conducts publicity via social media platforms which are popular among young people (such as Instagram, Facebook and the Yahoo search engine), as well as the Department's official Facebook page, YouTube channel and WeChat public account. In addition, the CSD has joined hands with different support service centres for ethnic minorities and schools to organise various activities, in a bid to attract non-ethnic Chinese youths to apply for joining the CSD.  

(3) The wastage figures and wastage rates of staff in different ranks in the CSD in the past three financial years are listed as follows:

Officer rank
Financial Year Natural Wastage
(Note 1)
Other Wastage Total Wastage Rate
2020-2021 38 10 48 4.4 per cent
2021-2022 34 20 54 4.9 per cent
2022-2023* 27 18 45 4.0 per cent
Total 99 48 147 /
* As at February 28, 2023
Rank and file
Financial Year Natural Wastage
(Note 1)
Other Wastage Total Wastage Rate
2020-2021 120 177 297 6.4 per cent
2021-2022 109 79 188 4.1 per cent
2022-2023* 125 99 224 4.8 per cent
Total 354 355 709 /
* As at February 28, 2023

Note 1: Natural wastage refers to retirement, while other wastage includes resignation, transfer, dismissal, death.

Ends/Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Issued at HKT 15:05