134 complaints were made against police officers between 2017 to 2018, the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) reported on Wednesday.

Twelve of those complaints were related to serious incidents such as assault, unnecessary use of authority, threats, and fabricating evidence – an uptick from the eight serious accusations reported last year.

Police officers. File photo: inmediahk.net.

The figures were published in the police watchdog’s annual report.

“We believe the situation needs more attention,” Richard Yu, secretary-general of the IPCC said. He added that the IPCC has passed on their findings to the police force.

130 police officers underwent disciplinary hearings or other internal punitive measures in 2017. It represents a 47.7 per cent increase from 88 hearings the year before. Ten of them received disciplinary reviews, 31 received warnings and 89 received counsel.

The report highlighted three cases that involved the misuse of police officers’ mobile phones. In the first instance, two police officers were accused of using their mobile phones to record CCTV footage of a crime scene where a shopkeeper had been stabbed to death. The videos were then leaked on the internet. The allegation of neglect of duty was substantiated.

Richard Yu Independent Police Complaints Council
Richard Yu (left).

The IPCC offered 26 suggestions to the police on how to improve their services. These included making amendments to the guidelines on using personal mobile phones while on duty, as well as improving training for officers.

The police accepted 19 out of the 26 suggestions.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.