Thu, Aug 23, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Police short of money for equipment

BUDGET ISSUES:Local departments are short 7,447 batons and 12,059 pepper spray cannisters, while some lack the tools needed to deal with online crime

By Chung Li-hua and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A police officer holds a can of pepper spray in an undated photograph.

Photo: Chung Li-hua, Taipei Times

Insufficient budget allocation is to blame for a lack of equipment at more than 80 percent of police departments, the National Audit Office’s Fiscal 2017 Central Government Budget Audit Report said.

Local police precincts and stations are responsible for budgeting for their own for weapons, ammunition and safety gear, the report said.

The National Police Agency in 2016 listed pepper spray, extendable batons and microcameras as recommended on-duty equipment, depending on local departments’ assessments of their own needs.

However, the report said that local departments are short 12,059 pepper spray cannisters, 7,447 batons and 4,004 microcameras, with pepper spray topping the list of equipment that 80 percent of all police departments do not have.

Sixty percent of police departments lacked both batons and cameras, it said, adding that some officers have been purchasing their own equipment.

While Internet and technology-related crime is on the rise, police departments in Yilan and Taitung counties lack the appropriate equipment to address the problem, the report said.

Police in Keelung and Hsinchu, as well as Hualien County, possess software to investigate Internet crimes, but lack the necessary hardware, it said.

Investigative teams in other counties and cities do not have enough hardware, software or personnel to meet the challenges posed by online crime, it said.

About 15 forensic teams are forced to send their evidence to the Criminal Investigation Bureau, slowing progress in the bureau’s own cases, the report said.

The agency said it would ask all local departments to take stock of their equipment and their conditions, adding that police departments in need should file paperwork to expedite the process.

Regarding online crime, the bureau said that it set up a cloud-based forensics system in June, which all forensic teams could use without taking up other departments’ time and resources.

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