Sun, Oct 19, 2008 - Page 5 News List

HK police lament low pay in DVD

DPA , HONG KONG

Police officers in Hong Kong on Friday launched a high-tech campaign to raise their pay levels, sending out DVDs and issuing an online warning that force morale is at an “all-time low.”

A 10-minute DVD produced by police staff associations and arguing for new pay scales that would add an average US$230 a month to pay packets was sent out to 27,000 Hong Kong officers and broadcast online.

Officers were also being asked to sign a letter to the head of a government advisory body that is to make official recommendations next month on how much police officers should be paid through 2013.

The letter said constables on a current starting salary of around US$2,150 a month are running out of patience, adding: “Morale in the police towards the administration is at an all-time low.”

The DVDs and letters are being sent out after a deadlocked meeting on Wednesday between the advisory body and staff associations, which have expressed rising frustration at the lack of progress in the talks.

The last full review of Hong Kong police pay scales was in 1988 and the current review was promised five years ago, the staff associations said.

Chung Kam-wah (鍾錦華), chairman of the Junior Police Officers Association, representing more than 22,000 officers, said the existing pay scales left mid-ranking officers “waiting on the sidelines on a career plateau.”

Police Force Council staff spokesman Mark Ford-McNicol said that the dispute would not affect the quality of policing.

“We will keep Hong Kong safe, and we know the importance of rule of law,” he said.

“There is still an ‘esprit de corps’ and a sense of duty and responsibility within the force, but this goodwill factor cannot last forever,” he warned.

A statement from the standing committee said it would take into account factors including morale and “financial and economic considerations” when it makes its recommendations.

“It is up to the chief executive and the administration to consider whether and, if so, to what extent the committee’s recommendations should be accepted,” the statement said.

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