Tue, Jun 10, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Police understaffed, overworked: lawmaker

By Rich Chang  /  Staff reporter

The government needs to boost police numbers and enhance their welfare, as many are overworked from dealing with a host of social issues — from an increasing number of rallies to enhanced security after the Taipei MRT stabbing incident, a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator said yesterday.

DPP Legislator Wu Yi-chen (吳宜臻) told a press conference at the legislature that after the MRT stabbing spree on May 21, in which four passengers were killed and 24 others injured, the National Police Agency (NPA) had increased the number of officers on daily duty at MRT stations.

The MRT incident, coming not long after the Sunflower protests in March, meant that many officers have not been able to take a holiday, the lawmaker said.

The agency has more than 80,000 postings, but only 60,000 officers at present, which means it is short of 20,000 officers, Wu said.

Over the past three years, the agency has enlisted about 2,000 police officers per year, but 2,200 police officers plan to retire this year.

“It is worrisome that the police shortage might become more serious in five years,” Wu said.

She said that police officers from the First, Fourth and Fifth Peace Preservation Police Corps have supported security missions in Taipei since the Sunflower movement. They were on duty 12 hours a day before taking buses to return to their bases in Taoyuan and Changhua counties or Greater Kaohsiung.

“We are concerned about the issue of overwork and their health,” she said.

NPA Secretary-General Tsai Yi-meng (蔡義猛) agreed, saying: “The nation’s police officers’ workload is really heavy.”

Tsai said his agency has proposed enlisting 2,500 new officers starting next year.

NPA welfare department director Chang Ya-wen (張雅雯) said that a project to establish group medical and incident insurance for the police would be completed this year.

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