Mon, Aug 23, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Police set accountability system

REPORTS IGNORED After police were ordered to maintain clean records, some refused to pursue minor crimes lest they be punished for not resolving the cases

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The police yesterday announced development of a new "e-system" to accept and process crime reports and reply to complainants.

Although adoption of such a new system was promised, the date when the system will be available was not specified.

"When an officer accepts a citizen's crime report, he will immediately key everything into the system. Within a few minutes, the information and all details of the case will be automatically distributed to every local police station, and to the portable computers on police patrol vehicles and officers' portable minicomputers as well," said Minister of the Interior Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全).

"For example, when an officer stops you for questioning, he will immediately know if you have been a bad boy after he keys in your name," Su said.

Su said that the new system will help officers catch minor offenders that they might otherwise not know the offenses of, so they will not ruin their promotion chances through oversights.

"Everything will be on the file," Su said. "And the officer who accepts the report from a citizen is responsible to get back to him regularly with updates on the case."

"The `e-system' will help our police work more efficiently," the minister said.

Critics among the public, however, said that the overlooking of minor crimes by police is the main reason for the system's creation.

The situation worsened when former minister Yu Cheng-hsien (余政憲) asked the police to maintain a zero-percent crime rate in March, and he specified that officers who failed to reach this goal would be punished. This order has had the effect of encouraging officers to ignore minor crimes to maintain their clean records.

Su did not deny that this problem was among the reasons for the new system's creation.

"From now on, everything will be written in black and white and kept on file in the system," Su said. "It will also be the proof for us to fire an officer if he ignores the case, no matter how serious the case is."

According the National Police Agency, 17 robbery cases took place from January to June in the Bo-ai Restricted Area, the Chungcheng First Precinct's responsibility and the area where the Presidential Office is located, but none of the cases have been closed so far. It was reported that the officer at the precinct did not follow regulations requiring the issue of a receipt to each victim after they reported the crime.

"We are investigating the allegations. I believe it was our officer's fault, but he might have forgotten to do so rather than ignoring the victims," said Lee Jin-tien (李金田), the precinct director. "It must be some kind of misunderstanding."

In the meantime, the agency announced four hotlines for the public to use officers ignore their crime reports. A toll-free number at the agency is 0800-018-111; for the Taipei City Police Department, 02-2311-9916; for the Taipei County Police Department, 0800-095-110; and for the Taichung City Police Department, 04-2327-4440.

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