Police School Liaison Programme
History of PSLP
The Hong Kong Police Force first introduced a school liaison programme in 1974 as part of the strategy on community policing. The function was, in the first 10 years, performed by dedicated police officers appointed as School Liaison Officers (SLO). In 1984, with the introduction of the Neighbourhood Police Co-ordinator Scheme, SLO’s function was integrated into the duties of Neighbourhood Police Co-ordinators who also had the overall responsibility for community relations.
Development of PSLP
4. The Police School Liaison Programme (PSLP), which has been an integral part of our community policing strategy since 1974. In light of the high incidence of juvenile crime, especially the rising trend of drug-related offences involving juveniles and young persons, a review commenced in 2007, 27 additional School Liaison Officer (SLO) posts were created in September 2008. With effect from October 2014, additional manpower for the PSLP was increased to 61 School Liaison Officer (Secondary)* and 42 School Liaison Officer posts for further enhancing services to secondary and primary schools. Police Public Relations Branch also created an independent School Liaison Officer who is responsible for conducting and coordinating necessary matters for SLO and SLO (Secondary), maintaining close contact and liaison with SLO and SLO (Secondary) and communicating policy directions. Nowadays, the number of post of SLO/ SLO (Secondary) is increased to 104 in total. Manpower distribution is tabled at relevant figure/data.
Remarks: * The title of Secondary School Liaison Officer (SSLO) has been changed to School Liaison Officer (Secondary) (SLOS) since September 2008.
Objectives of PSLP
In broad terms, the objectives of PSLP are:
Roles of SLO / SLO (Secondary)
A good working relationship between teachers, school social workers, children and the police is a vital factor to make the school liaison programme successful. Police involvement in schools should be planned to help school teachers and social workers in their endeavour to instil in their students a sense of responsibility, moral values and personal discipline.
The response from schools to these approaches by police has been varied and it is the responsibility of individual SLO/SLO(Secondary) to use their initiative and common sense to "break the ice" in difficult cases. It would be quite wrong for SLO /SLO(Secondary) to devote the majority of their time on schools which are helpful and co-operative; this is the easy approach. Maximum effort should be concentrated on those schools which for one reason or another, reject our approaches.
Over the years, our contacts with schools have tended to be confined to formal visits, general talks and road safety activities. SLO/SLO(Secondary) should, through the arrangements of their PCROs, encourage uniformed patrol officers to establish casual contacts with school teachers and students in their beat area. Community relations are best performed by officers who have direct involvement. It is not essential that the SLO/SLO(Secondary) delivers all talks to schools. He should arrange for guest police experts to talk on their own topics.
Contact and involvement with schools necessarily depend on local conditions. No hard and fast rules can be laid down for practice and there is no single model of the best practices that could apply universally to all schools. Involvement is governed by variable factors such as the extent of delinquent behaviour of students in particular schools, and the acceptance of police presence and advice by school authorities. Nevertheless good relations with the schools are of prime importance and every effort is to be made to establish them on a friendly and constructive basis.
The SLO/SLO(Secondary) will maintain regular contact with officers of the District Anti-Triad Section (DATS) to co-ordinate school liaison, activities in a concerted approach to achieve optimal effect and productivity.
While SLOs/SLO (Secondary)s should try every means to arouse students’ awareness on prevalent juvenile crime and pitfalls for youngsters, they should, however, avoid getting into circumstances where there may be conflict between their role as school liaison officers and law enforcement officers. Once an offence or alleged offence has been committed, it should be handled by way of established police procedures. SLOs/SLO (Secondary)s should not get involved in an actual case as investigators, or act as mediators between schools and parents. Nor should they play the role of discipline masters or school social workers.
Unruly behaviour does not necessarily constitute an offence. It is not uncommon for SLOs/SLO(Secondary)s to receive requests from schools relating to students displaying unruly behaviour, e.g. disobeying orders, rude mannerism, disputes between students, playing truant and so forth. When a request/referral of this nature is received, it should be explained to school management that such behavioural problems are outwith the law enforcement spectrum and should be dealt with by teachers and/or social workers.
School bullying and violence has been a hot topical issue since the wide media coverage on 2004-02-13 of a video clipping depicting a student assaulted by a group of classmates. Since then, each case of similar nature has been attracting extensive media attention and SLOs/SLO(Secondary)s are expected to play a significant role in monitoring and preventing school bullying cases.When a referral of school bullying is received, SLO/SLO (Secondary) has to establish if the bullying act amounts to an offence. If not, it should be explained to the school management that the act is merely a kind of unruly behaviour and it is not necessary to get police involved. The school should resolve the matter by way of internal disciplinary system and/or seek assistance from the school social worker. If the case amounts to or suspected to amount to an offence, the SLO/SLO (Secondary) should take action as per the following paragraphs.
Reporting of Offences
In circumstances where an offence has or may have been committed and the SLO/SLO(Secondary) is informed for advice, the SLO/SLO(Secondary) should focus on giving practical advice on law enforcement issues and the usual procedures taken by police. Once an SLO/SLO (Secondary) is satisfied that the alleged offence falls within the purview of police inquiry, he/she should endeavour to facilitate the reporting of the case to the police station for follow up action as soon as possible, adopting a low profile approach.
Relevant Figures / Data
(i) Manpower Involving in School Liaison Programme
(Figures as at 2014-12-31)
(ii) Visits to Schools & Interviews with Students
Productivity of SLOs/SLO(Sec)s from January to December 2014.