Hong Kong’s Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo has said the public has full confidence in the force, citing a number of surveys.
Lo was speaking at a passing-out parade of probationary inspectors and police constable recruits at the Hong Kong Police College on Saturday. Members of the press were not notified beforehand, unlike in previous years.
Lo said in a statement issued after the ceremony that a number of surveys conducted in recent years have shown the public has full confidence in the force, with satisfaction rates for police services reaching new highs.
“The Police Service Satisfaction Survey in 2018 showed that 84 per cent of the respondents were satisfied with police’s overall service performance. It’s the highest percentage among similar surveys since 2000. Nearly 80 per cent of the respondents expressed confidence in the Force in the Public Opinion Survey conducted in 2018 as well,” his statement read.
The statement did not reveal the satisfaction rate for 2019.
Hong Kong has seen large-scale protests triggered by a now-withdrawn extradition agreement bill which would have allowed fugitive transfers to mainland China – a jurisdiction with a poor human rights record. The 24-weeks-long movement has morphed into wider calls for democratic reform and accountability for alleged police brutality.
According to a survey conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s journalism school, commissioned by newspaper Ming Pao, more than half of the respondents marked zero out of 10 in measuring their trust in the force.
Lo said in his speech that he encouraged officers who were becoming disheartened to stand firm in their values, stay honest and aboveboard, and remain confident in order to rise to the challenges posed by threats to public safety and order during the current social unrest.
“We must not forget our aspirations in joining the force, which is to complete the solemn missions of upholding the rule of law and fighting crimes,” he said.
Lo said a series of incidents over the past few months had brought great challenges to the relationship between the police and the community: “[A]s long as the force stays united and remains steadfast, discharges duties in an honest and aboveboard manner, and continues to enforce the law impartially, the force will certainly have the support and trust from Hong Kong citizens and tide over the current difficulties one day,” he said.
Lo is set to step down from his position soon upon reaching retirement age.
“My heart is always with the force. It is my greatest honour to be able to lead this world-class professional police force,” he said.
Hong Kong Free Press relies on direct reader support. Help safeguard independent journalism and press freedom as we invest more in freelancers, overtime, safety gear & insurance during this summer’s protests. 10 ways to support us.