The Hong Kong Police Force budget for vehicles and equipment will be quadrupled in the upcoming fiscal year, according to a document detailing government department spending estimates. Salaries, allowances and expenses will also see a 12.4 per cent increase on the previous year.
The estimate for “plant, vehicles and equipment” spending in 2022-2023 is almost HK$508 million – four times last year’s approved estimate of almost HK$125 million. As the revised estimate for last year’s expenditure on plant, vehicles and equipment was close to HK$27 million, the proposed budget for the forthcoming year marks an increase of 18 times.
The budget for purchasing new and replacement “police specialised vehicles” has also risen by 22.8 per cent from last year’s HK$414 million to around HK$508 million.
Last December, the police purchased three water cannons from mainland China for HK$ 9.9 million, bringing the total number of water cannon in the Force’s arsenal to six.
Citing sources, Sing Tao reported in January that the police had bought 50 “tactical buses” to deploy before the 25th anniversary of the city’s handover on July 1, 2022. The newly acquired armoured vehicles reportedly have a capacity of 18 to 20 people and allow officers to fire tear gas grenades from within.
An estimated seven additional posts will be added, including a non-permanent post, in 2022-2023, while government expenditure on police salaries, allowances and other operating expenses will increase by 12.4 per cent to an estimated HK$25.2 billion.
For the next fiscal year, the total expenditure on officers’ salaries is estimated to be HK$18.4 billion, a 12 per cent rise on last year’s revised budget. “Job-related allowances” are also expected to increase by 17.9 per cent to HK$224 million.
According to the budget speech, the increase in spending on salaries was mainly due to last September’s salary review for disciplined forces. The Standing Committee on Disciplined Services Salaries and Conditions of Service (SCDS) advised increasing salaries across different departments. The suggestion was endorsed by the Legislative Council.
See also: Hong Kong police job vacancies rise for 4th consecutive year
Under the revised salary grade structure, the starting salary for a police constable, the lowest ranking, is HK$26,190 per month and can reach HK$38,365.
The SCDS said the added duty of protecting national security had increased “the stress and complexity” of the work of the disciplined forces, adding that they had faced “unprecedented challenges” since “the array of public movements and violent incidents in 2019,” as well as during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The police budget for “operations” saw an increase from last year’s revised estimate of HK$4.72 billion to an estimated HK$ 5.86 billion for the next fiscal year.
The Force’s aims, descriptions, and upcoming “matters requiring special attention” written in the the document on government department spending estimates remain identical to last year’s.
The document said the force would “combat the radicalisation of individuals and/or groups” bytaking a “multi-agency preventive approach” and conducting “proactive intelligence-led counter-terrorism operations.”
The total estimated budget for the Hong Kong Police Force rose by 14.7 per cent from the revised amount of HK$23.3 billion last year to HK$26.7 billion in 2022-23.
HKFP’s coverage in full:
- HK$10,000 consumption vouchers for all.
- Gov’t pledges over HK$54b to fight Covid-19 ‘on all fronts and at full speed’.
- One-off tax cuts, property rate concessions, electricity subsidies for residents.
- Economic rebound surpassed global growth last year, but will worsen under Covid.
- HK100 billion earmarked for Northern Metropolis plan.
- Landlords will be barred from terminating the tenancies of some small firms.
- Police vehicle and gear budget to quadruple to HK$508 million.
- Prisons to spend over HK$677,000 per detainee next year with 10% budget boost.
Support HKFP | Code of Ethics | Error/typo? | Contact Us | Newsletter | Transparency & Annual Report
Support press freedom & help us surpass 1,000 monthly Patrons: 100% independent, governed by an ethics code & not-for-profit, Hong Kong Free Press is #PressingOn with impartial, award-winning, frontline coverage.