In recent years, police are always the target of complaint and criticism.
The existing complaint mechanism is however widely recognised as credible and that relies much on the system and the recognition by different stakeholders.
Frontline officers maintain "law, rationality and sensitivity" in their execution of duty whilst CAPO officers pursue fairness in investigation. They all share the same vision.
Below are stories about the people involved in the complaint cases that expose the humanity side of police work.
Sergeant Kennis has been with CAPO for almost five years and she is no stranger to heavy workload. "Maintaining fairness in our dealings and time management are very crucial in complaints handling," said Kennis. In a complaint case, she had to contact some 40 witnesses and most of them were deaf and dumb. She therefore had to be exceptionally patient in order to listen to their grievances.
"It's my duty to conduct fair and impartial investigations and to explain the Force's guidelines to the complainants in order to clear their misunderstandings. This would certainly improve the Force's image."
When asked about her tips for complaints handling, Kennis believes in devotion and care. On one occasion, she interviewed a complainant who was arrested for breaching conditions of stay. As she was the sole breadwinner of her family on the Mainland, the complainant was worried she might spend a long time in jail. Kennis therefore made a special effort to counsel and comfort her during the interview. Like her fellow complaint investigators, Kennis showed a lot of care.
SGT Marco Chan has worked in CAPO for four years. "Sometimes what we see might not be the truth," he said. He likes investigation work and the process of finding truth.
He recalled that in a complaint case, he identified a key witness who worked irregular hours as a truck driver between Hong Kong and the Mainland. Marco, with perseverance, eventually obtained a statement from the driver and proved that the complainant had made a false allegation against police.
Understanding the psychology and rationale of complainants behind their complaints requires great tact. At the same time, an officer needs to be empathetic in order to know the complainees better. "I fully understand the pressure of working on the frontline because I also worked on the frontline before," said Marco.
With the popularity of smart phones, police officers often become targets for shooting. Station Sergeant (SSGT) Chan, who has served in the Force for 37 years, was video-recorded whilst handling a land dispute in Yuen Long. The footage was later edited to show he was biased towards a party to the dispute, and was uploaded onto the Internet.
SSGT Chan said: "I have got used to camera. As a police officer, you should expect to be video-recorded anytime and anywhere. As long as I work in accordance with the law, I am not afraid." He is confident and has complete trust in CAPO and his colleagues. After CAPO had obtained other video footage, the allegation against him was classified as "No Fault".
Police Constable (PC) Man has had similar experience. He was under camera spotlight whilst issuing a fixed penalty ticket to a driver for illegal parking. The driver kept abusing him with foul languages and demanding for an explanation. PC Man responded calmly and suggested he might lodge an appeal to the Central Traffic Prosecutions Division.
The footage was put on the Internet, attracting a lot of comments. PC Man was very upset and worried. He was however very glad that his colleagues and the management were very understanding and complimented him for his patience. "My mother raised me up on her own. I took a few part-time jobs to help support my family when I was young and came across a lot of difficult people at that time," he said. PC Man believes his experience has taught him to be a more tolerant person.