Sun, Aug 07, 2016 - Page 6 News List

EDITORIAL: Police regulations need reform

The vicious attack on New Taipei City police officer Chang Chia-feng (張家逢) on Tuesday has shocked the nation.

However, besides being concerned about how Wu Chih-chan (吳志展), the suspect in the meat cleaver attack, is treated in court, the public should probably pay attention to the training standards and internal regulations of the police force, which failed to protect Chang.

Watching the surveillance video showing Chang coming under attack was astonishing — not only because it showed how the attacker beat, kicked and slashed Chang as if he were a sworn enemy, apparently just because Chang was going to give him a parking ticket, but also showed how helpless Chang was.

The police officer was only able to protect himself with his bare hands, and when the attacker went back to his car and returned with a cleaver, all Chang did was to shout at him, asking him to stop.

Why was Chang alone? Why did he not use his gun to protect himself? Why did he not use his baton when the attacker was coming right at him?

These were some of the questions that the public asked.

The answers from the police are interesting, to say the least.

Regarding the first question, the chief of a local police station said that it is standard practice for officers to go out alone when an assignment is not considered to be dangerous, such as giving out traffic tickets.

As for the second question, the police said that Chang did not have a gun, because he was only giving tickets and they are worried that if officers carry guns when it is not necessary, their weapon might be taken from them.

Finally, the police said that Chang did not use his baton because the attack was unexpected and he had no time to react.

The practice of letting police officers go on duty on their own needs to be changed.

As police often have to deal with unexpected situations, they should always be sent on assignments at least in pairs, whatever their assignment might be.

And if officers are acting alone, they should always wait for reinforcements before making a move.

Since police officers can run into unexpected situations, the explanation for Chang not carrying a gun is ridiculous.

People do not say: “I am going to attack you” in advance.

Police are given the right to carry firearms, because they can be in danger at any moment when they are on duty, so they should carry their guns whenever they are on duty.

It is considerate of the police chief to worry that someone might take an officer’s gun by force, but that does not happen often and should not happen at all.

The answer to the third question shows that there are serious problems with the training of police officers.

Unless an officer walks into an ambush, they should never be unable to react to a dangerous situation, which is the reason police are trained in the martial arts.

What happened to Chang was terrible, but fortunately, the attack was not fatal.

If the police hope to prevent similar attacks, they should be more serious about implementing and reforming security regulations.

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