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Local Police Force Will Be Established for Cities, Counties, and Districts

Local Police Force Will Be Established for Cities, Counties, and Districts

Posted September. 16, 2004 22:07,   


Starting in July 2006 at the earliest, 234 local governments at the city, county, and district level nationwide can maintain its own local autonomous police forces, aside from the national police, if they desire.

The Governmental Innovation Decentralization Committee headed by Yoon Sung-sik is holding a state affairs meeting regarding the “Autonomous Police System Adoption Policy” presided over by President Roh Moo-hyun in order to introduce the local police system.

The local autonomous police will be partly in charge of public safety management, such as red light district control and traffic order control.

According to the policy, local police departments will be created under each local government, and the local governments will maintain 10 to 100 police personnel and 6,000 overall depending on the their situation. That number is about 6.6 percent of the national police force that consists of about 90,000 police personnel.

Also, 1,867 public safety centers around the nation will be gradually handed over to the local police. The local government head will handle personnel management at the centers.

The local police force will hold special judicial police rights in 20 areas, including food, environment, vehicle control, and others that are currently held by local governments. However, even with the special rights, they will only be taking care of cases involving fines of 200,000 won or below, and of cases involving custody and correctional fines. The national police will manage the rest of criminal cases.

The national police will be in charge of operations that require professionalism or national police force distribution such as investigation, information, foreign affairs, security, defense, and others.

A related official at National Police Headquarters said, “If the local police system takes effect, the real sense of security felt at the local level can be tested during elections for the local government heads. Therefore, the sense of security is expected to heighten in areas close to the lives of residents.”

President Roh said at the meeting that day, “The operation of the local police system is a very meaningful decision in terms of promoting sovereignty by the people and autonomy by residents.”

Roh also mentioned, “The birth of local police forces, controlled and operated by residents, with these residents receiving service from police personnel they selected, is a big step forward from the life welfare perspective as well as from the perspective of its value.”

The government will operate some sample local governments in large-scale cities and country towns starting in July of next year when the system can be tried. This will come about after the government devises a related law in November following a public hearing and discussion process. The system will take effect when the new term of local government heads, elected by popular vote in July 2006, starts.

Meanwhile, discussions over the independent investigation of the police will be developed at a faster speed, caused by the fact that President Roh has pledged for the “Independence of Police Investigation Rights after the Adoption of a Local Autonomous Police System” during his presidential election.