Tue, Jul 16, 2002 - Page 2 News List

NPA says officers free to join DPP

POLICE ADMINISTRATION Officials say they are not too worried about news reports that the party is attempting to recruit around 10,000 of the police force's members

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The National Police Administration (NPA, 警政署) said yesterday that police officers have freedom of choice to join any party but political affiliations shouldn't interfere with police work.

The NPA's remark came in response to media reports yesterday that the DPP is inviting civil servants to join the party, as President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) prepares to take the helm of the party on July 21.

A local evening newspaper yesterday reported that the DPP wants to recruit the NPA's Deputy Director-General Hsieh Yin-tang (謝銀黨).

The report said that DPP officials are also contacting Keelung City Police Headquarters Director Wu Chen-chi (吳振吉), Senior NPA Councilor Ho Kuo-jung (何國榮), Taoyuan County Police Department Director Hou You-yi (侯友宜) and Presidential Office Security Department Chief Hsieh Fan-fan (謝芬芬) in this regard. Hsieh is currently the top female police officer in Taiwan.

The report says the DPP is expecting an estimated 10,000 police officers to join the party by the end of this year.

According to the NPA, 99 percent of all police officers are currently KMT members.

"That's because the KMT was the only choice for police officers a few decades ago. Joining the KMT before graduating from the police academy has also become a tradition," a senior official at the NPA told the Taipei Times.

However, NPA statistics show that nearly 40 percent of the officers left the KMT when the party lost the presidential election two years ago. Among the 80,000 police officers in Taiwan, 30,000 say they do not belong to any political party.

"Regarding the news article about the DPP's attempt to persuade as many police officers as possible to join the party, we won't take it too seriously," the senior officer said.

"Everybody's free to choose when it comes to political issues. However, a police officer is a public servant which means an officer must stay neutral and his job shouldn't be affected by any politics-related issues either. That's the bottom line." the senior officer concluded.

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