The Hong Kong police force have remained the least popular among all disciplinary forces in the city, as they received the lowest public satisfaction rating again, according to survey results released on Tuesday.
The Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute (PORI) interviewed 1,004 citizens by phone between May 4 and 6. The police received 36.8 out of 100 marks, with 44 per cent of the respondents giving zero marks.
Compared to the survey conducted by PORI last November, the police satisfaction rating saw a slight increase of 1.5 marks, but they continued to rank bottom among nine disciplinary forces in the city. The police force’s net satisfaction rate stood at negative 25 percentage points.
In early May, the police force came under public scrutiny after three senior officers were alleged to have violated land and housing laws. One of them was British-born officer Rupert Dover, who became a well-known figure after leading dispersal operations during the large-scale protests which erupted last June, originally against a now-axed extradition bill.
The force has been widely criticised for its crackdown on citywide unrest. Pro-democracy protesters, local and overseas politicians and human rights groups have urged the government to set up an independent commission of inquiry to look into alleged police brutality and misconduct.
But the government has repeatedly dismissed such calls, saying that the existing Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) was sufficient for handling complaints.
The police watchdog – which has no investigative power – issued a 999-page report last Friday, which concluded that police behaviour during the protests was within guidelines but had “room for improvement.” However, the study was slammed by some critics as a “shocking whitewash,” as they questioned the fairness and impartiality of the report.
The rating of the People’s Liberation Army Hong Kong Garrison stood at 44.2 marks – the same result as the previous survey.
The Auxiliary Medical Service became the disciplinary force with the highest satisfaction levels for the first time, with a rating of 77.4 marks. Followed by the Fire Services Department and the Government Flying Service, with 76.6 and 71.7 marks respectively.
But PORI noted the ratings of most departments have dropped significantly compared with six months ago, with the Correctional Services Department registering the most significant drop. Six departments also recorded record-low ratings since relevant questions first began in 2012 or 2013.