Go to contents

[Editorial] Police Reform Plans in Urgent Need

Posted April. 04, 2008 03:46,   


Police are finding themselves criticized by the people as no less than a “public enemy,” but they are in no situation to defend themselves. Their lax responses and botched investigations into the abduction and murder of two schoolgirls in Anyang and the attempted kidnapping of a female child in Ilsan are a vivid reminder of how police have neglected their duty of protecting the people’s lives and their properties. The incidents have also showed the slackened discipline of the police.

President Lee Myung-bak made his unannounced visit to the Ilsan Police Station on Monday and rebuked police. President Lee, who took to heart how deeply the public has become disenchanted with police, did so to gravely admonish them. The fact that the seeming overreaction of the president rather elicited praises from the public illustrates how deep and wide public distrust of police has become. He slammed police by calling them “deplorable” ones. He expressed exactly what the public wanted to say.

Continuous regrettable responses of the police show that they can no longer serve the public well with the loose discipline, bad working practices and the dysfunctional personnel system. In 2003, three or four police stands were integrated into one police station branch and, since then, police officers have been working on an eight-hour shift. But those changes have little contributed to curbing crimes against the general public and enhancing public safety. Yet, no measures have been taken. Police have placed improving their working conditions over maintaining public safety. Police officers in police stations’ branches have paid more attention to traffic control that is helpful to their performance review and tried to avoid investigations into robbery and larceny cases.

One will shock at the postings in the bulletin board for employees on the National Police Agency homepage, many of which are blowing the whistle on police officers who cover up cases. One positing say those who hide cases well are considered competent. To make matters worse, the previous left-leaning government’s perspectives on the times and its distorted view on the role of police undermined their morale. Police were frequently pounded by illegal protestors but could not exercise public power properly.

Police Commissioner General Eo Cheong-soo should now present his plans to transform the police. When inaugurated, he promised to “bring fresh change to police.” However, there has been no change at all. Our children are defenseless against kidnapping and sexual assaults. He must come up with the reform plans and implement them as soon as possible.