Hundreds of Police quit force during protests
Updated: May 12, 2020
Source: RTHK 8 April 2020 (bold format added)
Several hundred police officers quit the force during Hong Kong's months of social turmoil, as the number of new recruits plummeted by around 40 percent, the Security Bureau revealed on Wednesday.
A document to Legco showed there were a total of 446 "unanticipated leavers" between June last year and February this year, as the city was rocked by anti-government protests and "Asia's finest" were stung by constant allegations of brutality, and bias and unprofessionalism in their handling of the unrest.
The number abandoning their careers, rather than simply retiring or leaving as expected, jumped almost 40 percent compared with the same period last year.
Lawmakers were told that 416 of the police who quit were junior officers, with some bailing out during training, and others citing "family and personal reasons" for their resignations.
But the police have also claimed that "fake news" led to a loss of confidence in the force.
Meanwhile, the police recruited just over 760 officers between April last year and February this year, which was a 40 percent drop compared with the previous full financial year.
The number of applicants to the force during the same period also plunged by a similar percentage, to fewer than 11,000.
Commenting on the trend, Steve Vickers, CEO of Steve Vickers and Associates, a risk consultant, said he was not surprised and said the police were thrown under a "political bus”.
"The police force, as the visible representation of what many saw as an apparently dysfunctional and not very visible Hong Kong government, inevitably took the brunt of public dissatisfaction'" he said.
"Police were thrown under a 'political bus' and it is a credit to their cohesion that even more officers have not left."
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(For related material see our blog with a report by UN special rapporteurs on HK Police use of tear gas, and disrespect for rights & freedoms)
Update: 12 May 2020, HK's Police chief has acknowledged that the treatment of reporters during protests on Sunday (10 May) was “undesirable” and that officers “should have been more professional".