New PNC Chief at the helm

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Eastern District Commander, Chief Superintendent (CSP) Peter Morgan, is stepping down as Commanding Officer (OC) of the Police Negotiation Cadre (PNC) ----- a secondary duty he has performed over the past 12 years. Assistant Commissioner (Operations) (ACP OPS) Wong Chi-hung has appointed Marine Region Superintendent (SP) Gilbert Wong Kwong-hing to succeed CSP Morgan to take the helm of the PNC, with effect from January 4.

CSP Morgan has also been a PNC member for 24 years, making him one of the longest serving PNC members since the Cadre first formed in 1975. Explaining why he is stepping down, CSP Morgan said: "After 12 years as OC, I thought it was time to let a younger and more energetic officer take the lead. The main reason, of course, is to ensure that our succession plans allow sufficient time for the next generation of officers to develop and lead the PNC into the future."

PNC major achievements

Looking back at his years with PNC, CSP Morgan is very pleased with the many achievements and successes this elite unit has attained. But he emphasised that the achievements were very much the result of the collaborative effort by each and every PNC member.

Highlighting some of these achievements, CSP Morgan continued: "PNC has played quite an active role in the last few years, particularly in public order related negotiation which is a very new development amongst negotiation units world-wide. We had a very successful first operation during the World Trade Organisation's Hong Kong Ministerial Conference in 2005 when we deployed a number of officers to work closely with protestors to ensure events were held as peacefully as possible.

"We've also showcased the PNC to the international negotiation community by being one of the key representatives in the International Negotiators Working Group, an international body representing a wide variety of negotiation units worldwide. We also hosted the Working Group's eighth conference in 2007 and gave a presentation on what PNC had done and the direction it was moving forward. The conference was very successful.

"We've also been invited by a number of overseas jurisdictions to send course directors and instructors for their training courses. Gilbert, for example, was the first police officer invited to Scotland last year and another officer, Chief Inspector Chan Ka-po, to New Zealand as course instructor. This is very good for us in terms of recognition of what we've been doing in Hong Kong."

On PNC's workload, CSP Morgan noted: "Although we fortunately don't get too many big hostage incidents like they do in other parts of the world, on average PNC gets turned-out about 10 to 20 times a month - a significant amount compared with jurisdictions elsewhere. Though most of these incidents were barricade and suicide cases, still our officers are getting a lot of real-life experience on a fairly regular basis."

Partners with other stakeholders

CSP Morgan pointed out that PNC had also actively promoted suicide prevention and suicide awareness in the community by working closely with the Hong Kong Jockey Club Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention at the Hong Kong University. Both parties had worked out a number of initiatives and special projects to achieve the ultimate objective of preventing and reducing suicides in Hong Kong. In addition, both parties had also provided training for other government departments on better awareness and crisis intervention skills.

CSP Morgan regards his 24-year association with PNC as "an important part of my career in the Force". Naturally he would like to continue working closely with it in other capacities. He noted: "I'm currently an honorary associate of the Hong Kong Police College for negotiation related matters, and I've been conducting training for the College on a number of occasions. Through this avenue, I hope to continue my contacts with PNC."

CSP Morgan also took the opportunity to thank "all the people I've been closely associated with" as PNC member and PNC OC, in particular senior Force management, the Psychological Services Group for their very close support and cooperation with PNC members in operations as well as offering valuable advice and expert guidance on some crisis intervention issues, as well as frontline and specialist units for their full support on the ground.

Noting that PNC members, coming from a wide range of posts and ranks, sometimes experienced challenges in balancing their day-to-day jobs with PNC commitments, CSP Morgan hoped the Force and commanders at all levels would continue giving PNC members full support.

SP Wong, who has worked with PNC for 10 years as a member, team leader and Deputy OC, said it is a great honour for him to succeed CSP Morgan as OC PNC. "Mr Morgan has made a lot of contribution to and laid a solid foundation for PNC over the years. I'll do my best to continue with the projects that he has initiated," he said.

SP Wong will be meeting ACP OPS to discuss PNC's way forward. He also plans to have brainstorming sessions with his two PNC Deputy OCs and four Team Leaders to find out their views and suggestions about PNC's development.

"What I have in mind for the short term are the personal and professional developments of PNC members, and I welcome any views and suggestions," he added.

CSP Morgan and SP Wong with newly recruited PNC members

CSP Morgan and SP Wong with Director of Operations Koo Sii-hong and Assistant Commissioner (Operations) Wong Chi-hung after receiving an appreciation letter and an appointment letter respectively from Mr Koo

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