Zi Teng statement regarding to the Independent Police Complaints Council Bill
Urge to give investigation power to the Independent Police Complaints Council
Zi Teng and other human rights concern groups have been paying much concern on the abuse of police power and the problems surrounding the police complaint system. We believe that the present Independent Police Complaints Council Bill has to be revised, so that the Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC) can have more power to investigate into the police complaints, particularly the complaints about police misconduct, misbehavior, and the mistake in the police administration.
Currently, the Complaint Against Police Office (CAPO) is a subsidiary of the Hong Kong Police Force. It is of no use and unreliable for the CAPO to investigate into the police complaints as the investigation is carried out by the police. We can clearly see from different police complaints that the CAPO is very problematic and fails to investigate into the police complaints justly. For example, they will secretly contact the police officer, who are complained, they will mislead, threaten or convince the complainant to withdraw the complaint, they will lessen the complaint severity, and prolong the investigation. The CAPO not only fails to justly investigate into the police misconduct and power abuse, they often mislead and set up barriers to make the complainants give up the complaints. The police complaint can seldom be established eventually.
Although the IPCC is mainly responsible for the monitoring and reviewing of the CAPO investigation, it cannot really monitor the CAPO investigation because of its lacking power to investigate into particular complaints and the mistake in police administration. Moreover, since the investigation is carried out by the police, the cases of police abuse and police misbehavior cannot be monitored properly. Even though the citizens’ rights are violated, they can only file meaningless complaint without any fair investigation and treatment. The complaint against police system is just a token system.
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights recommended many times to the Hong Kong Government to set up an independent complaint system for the investigation of police complaints. Yet, the government still rejects the recommendations. As long as the Independent Police Complaints Council Bill is going to be revised, more investigation power should be given to the Council. The police complaints can then be fairly investigated, and Hong Kong citizens’ human rights be properly protected.
Here are our recommendations to the Independent Police Complaints Council Bill:
- Empowers the IPCC to take up and investigate into the police complaints.
- IPCC has the power to meet the witness and to go through the complaint information. Anything mentioned during the witness meeting will not be used for conviction.
- IPCC not only has the power to investigate into the complaints about individual police officers, it also has the power to investigate and review any current police code of conduct, policy, procedures, and administration to avoid any mistake, improperness, insufficiency or power abuse.
- Even there is not a proper complainant, IPCC still has the power to carry out an investigation and provide recommendations to anything concerned by the public.
- Increase the investigation transparency, and to report the investigation progress, content and result to the complainant.
- IPCC has the power to transfer the case to the Independent Complaint Against Corruption (ICAC) and the Department of Justice, if it discovers any police misbehavior during the investigation.
- The selection and appointment of the IPCC chairperson and committees should be open and representative. NGO representatives, particularly the groups who are often harassed like sex workers, lesbians and gays, racial minorities, should be included in the selection and appointment.
- In long run, the authority should set up an independent unit, which is separated from the Hong Kong Police Force, to deal with the police misconduct, power abuse, and the mistake in current police administration.