South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol said on Friday that the power of the police has significantly grown over time qualitatively and quantitatively. “It should reinvent itself to win public trust based on systems and institutions that can live up to the range of its responsibilities,” he added. It is interpreted that he made the comments considering that there is internal opposition to the police bureau newly launched under the Ministry of Public Administration and Security.
President Yoon said at the commencement ceremony for new officers at the Central Police Academy in Chungju, North Chungcheong Province, on Friday, “It is time to make sure that practices of the past give way to an organizational management system that works based on transparent and democratic procedures.” Seemingly in response to criticism that the police bureau can put the police’s investigative independence at risk, he added, “The government will operate the police system in accordance with the Constitution and law while leaving the police neutral.”
President Yoon promised to offer better treatment to new policemen who stand on the starting line. “I will help give fair opportunities to police officers who have worked as policemen on the frontline of fight against crime in terms of promotion and internal transfer,” the president said. Previously, he implied that he will put an end to the practice of giving preferential promotions to those who attended the Korean National Police University while promising to increase the basic pay level of the police and implement a system to allow members of different job levels to be assigned with the same position.
President Yoon’s presence at the commencement ceremony for new officers is interpreted as a series of his steps to take to support the police bureau, which was launched under the Ministry of Public Administration and Security despite partial police opposition, and gain momentum for the reform to the Korean National Police University. Right after the ceremony, President Yoon said at a conference with young police officers, “I was asked to join this meeting next year as I have a tight schedule. However, I’ve come to see all of you,” adding, “I am happy to talk to you. I am having fun.”
Police officers shared their grievances and difficulties during the round-table meetup for 40 minutes. Listening to a policeman who got an injury on duty, President Yoon said, “We will make sure that you don’t pay for any treatment you receive at all. The government must make the full payment,” ordering Public Safety Minister Lee Sang-min and Commissioner General Yoon Hee-keun of the National Police Agency to check out the status of police members injured during hazardous missions. Added to this, the president directed Minister Lee to pay attention and take aggressive action to help reduce the burden of childcare with the goal of leading such efforts in the public sector. First Lady Kim Keon-hee also attended the ceremony on Friday.
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