An Innovative Experience in Police Training in Hong Kong: What Social Work can Contribute
Traditional policing focuses on crime control by law enforcement. In recent decade, the Hong Kong Police Force has increasingly affirmed the importance of multi-agency cooperation in crime fighting. It is also recognized that quality enforcement of law and maintenance of order incur not only legal knowledge and tough-on-crime but also a service orientation. The change provides impetus for venturing more innovative training for police. The Police Attachment to NGOs Program is an unprecedented tailor-made multi-disciplinary training program for serving police officers in Hong Kong. These training programs were commissioned to the Department of Applied Social Sciences of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Between 2004 and 2007, altogether seven batches of police officers were trained. The program is divided into three phases – the pre-attachment, the attachment and the post-attachment phase. The trainees were provided with the opportunities to dialogue with the social workers and at-risk-youth directly and in depth as trainees rather than as police on duty. The new experience was evaluated by the trainees as very stimulating and rewarding. Trainees generally expressed that after going through the program, their understanding of the social workers and the at-risk-youth had been transformed. A majority of the trainees indicated that the program would have impact on their police work. The program also generated extra benefits to the social workers and the service users of the NGOs. This paper shares the design and experience of this program. Challenges and difficulties encountered will also be brought up and discussed. In short, the training can be regarded as indirect social work practice in the field of working with young people. When police and social workers can have better collaboration and when the at-risk-youth are not further marginalized by the approach of the police, the young people will be the beneficiary in the final analysis.
Keywords: Indisciplinary Police Training, Multi-Agency Approach, Marginal Youth, Hong Kong
Dr. P.K. Roxco Chun
Senior Lecturer, Department of Applied Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University