The first of its kind, the one-day symposium attracted nearly 100 participants, comprising mainly commanders of the Force as well as local and overseas academics, to exchange views on the development and challenges of policing.
After officiating at the opening of the symposium, Deputy Commissioner (Management) Ma Wai-luk said: "In the 21st century, there have been fundamental changes in the policing landscape. Fuelled by a technological revolution, the traditional ties of kinship and ethnicity are being replaced by disparate groups of people joined instead by ideas. The cloak of anonymity provided by cyber space not only helps individuals freely express their views, but also provides opportunities for criminals to commit crimes online.
"Meanwhile the burgeoning educated middle class across the world is demanding more socio-economic qualities and greater government accountability. Generational diversity and individualism are common phenomena in both society and the workforce. It will be essential for the Hong Kong Police Force and the community to continuously search for more effective means to protect the safety and security of the city."
Also speaking at the opening, the Director of the Centre for Criminology, Prof Karen Laidler, pointed out that the world is experiencing a rapid social change that not only impacts on daily lives, but also influences and shapes cultural beliefs and values.
The symposium represented the first step towards institutional and individual collaboration between the Hong Kong Police Force and academics to establish new links and to initiate constructive dialogues about those social changes, he added.
The six keynote speakers in the three sessions of the symposium were Mr David Hodson, Prof Ian Scott, Prof Lui Tai-lok, Dr Michael Adorjan, Dr Maggy Lee and Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu. They shared their research findings of, and insights into, the topics of "Changing Police Culture", "Generational Issues in the Workplace" and "Public Trust", each followed by either panel or group discussion, which saw a very active exchange of views and ideas by the participants. The symposium also saw a constructive dialogue between police practitioners and academics on policing and social issues.
Symposium an "ambitious attempt"
In his closing speech, Director of Management Services Tang How-kong said: "The objective of this joint symposium is not just to provide a one-off opportunity for academics and police officers to get together. The symposium actually marks the beginning of an ambitious attempt to combine the intellectual energy of seasoned social scientists and the practical experience of serving police commanders to make Hong Kong an even better place for us to live, work, and raise our children."
"In fact, all of the participants from the police are either today's or tomorrow's leaders. I'm sure today's event has served the purpose of widening their horizons, allowing them to get a better insight into our tomorrow's society, which they have pledged to serve and protect. Equally, I hope this event has also served the purpose of enabling our friends in the academic world to gain a better insight into the operation and management of the Force, and how it has earned its international reputation as Asia's Finest," Mr Tang added.
The symposium concluded with a reception, where the participants had more exchanges of views and ideas.