Tue, Jul 13, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Police set new rules for contact with organized crime

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The National Police Agency yesterday implemented new rules on how police officers should interact with members of the criminal underworld when doing so is necessary for investigative purposes.

Under the new regulations — enacted after the release of footage showing a police officer in Taichung interacting with a prominent gangster who was shot dead in late May — police officers will be required to file paperwork to obtain approval from superior officers whenever they need to contact suspected gangsters.

The agency also made public a poll held last week, which showed that the majority of officers welcomed the new measure.

An anonymous police officer said that while following the new regulations would not be a problem for police officers, the additional red tape could inconvenience some investigations.

“Honestly, we have yet to receive the official notice from the agency, so I have no idea what to do on the first day [of the new regulations],” said an officer surnamed Tsai from Taipei County Police Department's Yonghe Precinct.

After being told that the majority of police officers approved of the new regulation, Tsai said those officers were probably not saying what they really thought.

An investigation team member, Tsai said he was surprised by the amount of paperwork he would have to complete under the new regulations.

He said he worried about how much time would be wasted, and if it would undermine investigative efforts and the force's ability to catch suspects.

“Some officers’ passion for their work could also be affected by the knowledge that they will have to do so much more to fight crime,” Tsai said.

The officer said it was necessary for police officers to get close to criminals to understand how they think and operate.

“Many officers may hold back [getting close to a gangster] because of the new rule,” Tsai said.

“If you do not get closer to him, how are you going to collect sufficient evidence and arrest him?” Tsai asked.

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