For a blockbuster career in the HK Police Force, now’s the time to take action
On December 3, 2008, a large group of taxi drivers parked their taxis on both the inbound and outbound lanes of the North Lantau Highway, the main road to the airport, in protest of government plans to adjust fares. With traffic on the busy road blocked in both directions, it wasn’t long before trouble erupted.
The experience proved particularly memorable for Terry Fang, a recently promoted chief inspector of police with the Hong Kong Police Force, who was attached to PTU (Police Tactical Unit) Kowloon West as a platoon commander at the time.
“My troop was redeployed to deal with the sudden protest, which later developed into a chaotic situation,” Fang says. “The protestors scattered their vehicles on the expressway, which paralysed traffic between the airport and the urban area. The incident attracted mass-media coverage and as a PTU platoon commander, my duties were to execute my responsibilities in a professional manner. We swiftly cleared the road blockade and our decisive actions were later commended by members of the public.”
Carmen Man, another recently promoted chief inspector of police, says it is moments like these, where a whole unit pulls together, that makes the Force such a rewarding place to work.
“Like many of my colleagues, to be a police officer was my childhood dream,” she says. “Team spirit is the most enjoyable part of my job. Be it in a physically demanding environment such as an attachment to a PTU, or in a small investigation team within the Commercial Crime Bureau, the teamwork and esprit de corps of team members making a concerted effort towards the same cause offers plenty of satisfaction.”
If this sounds appealing, now is the time to send in an application. The Force is currently conducting a large recruitment drive and has openings for 175 police inspectors, 990 police constables and 288 auxiliary police inspectors. Be warned, however – getting into the Force is no walk in the park.
“Young people who apply to the police are subject to a rigorous assessment and selection process,” says Patrick Lee, superintendent of the Force’s Recruitment Division, Personnel Wing. “For police inspector applicants, for example, on average only one out of every 45 applicants is successful in passing all the assessments.”
Police inspectors, Lee explains, are the middle managers and leaders in the Force. They are put in charge of patrol sub-units or investigation teams and, apart from their own work, they are required to supervise their subordinates and be accountable for their performance.
Upon joining the Force, police inspectors are put through a 36-week training programme at the Police College in Aberdeen. They then go through compulsory uniform postings in a police station for nine to 12 months, before getting the opportunity to focus on different specialised paths depending on their strengths and interests, such as crime investigation or operations.
Police constables, meanwhile, are the front-line officers of the Force. After passing through a 27-week training programme at the Police College, they are deployed to perform patrol duties. With more experience, they will be posted to other types of duties, such as PTUs, crime investigation and traffic.
Auxiliary recruit constables are the part-time equivalents of recruit constables and provide an additional source of manpower to support their regular counterparts. Apart from patrol duties, they are also deployed to perform crowd management and anti-crime duties.
Whatever the position, the Force offers a good variety of work, while providing continuation training for recruits to strengthen their professional knowledge and skills and make their way steadily through the ranks.
Fang and Man urge potential applicants to think carefully about becoming a part of the police force, as it is not a decision that should be taken lightly. “Policing is a life-long career that requires strong commitment and a genuine will to serve the community. If you want to become a part of the Force, you need to take a serious step to understand more about the nature of police work,” Man says.
“Joining the Force requires you to devote yourself to a career in serving society,” Fang adds. “While police work is challenging and demanding, it also offers a great sense of achievement and satisfaction. If you believe you are capable of shouldering the heavy responsibilities of a police officer, we are ready to offer you a position.”