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Wanted by the police

Published on Saturday, 19 Jul 2014
New recruits are drilled during their basic training at the Police College in Wong Chuk Hang.
Photo: David Wong
Potential recruits take part in the interview process during last year’s police recruitment day at the police headquarters in Wan Chai.
Photo: Nora Tam

The Hong Kong Police Force is conducting a recruitment to drive to hire over 1,300 officers in 2014-15.

The Hong Kong Police Force is looking to ramp up recruitment, training and career development to meet the demand created by the retirement of officers taken on during expansion in the 1970s and 1980s. The force aims to recruit more than 1,300 officers, including 200 police inspectors and 1,100 police constables, in the 2014-15 financial year.

Unlike most civil service jobs, which have designated recruitment periods, the force works year-round to attract more talent.

Superintendent Monita Tam Nga-ching of the recruitment division says various recruitment activities are aimed at introducing the career to members of the community and attracting high-calibre candidates. “In the past two years, the force has organised large-scale recruitment days on a half-yearly basis, and on each occasion more than 1,000 applied to join as a police officer. The next recruitment day will be held on July 26 at the Wan Chai police headquarters.” 

The police will also launch a series of recruitment and publicity campaigns, including a careers expo, recruitment day, seminar, mentorship programme and auxiliary undergraduate scheme (AUS). 

“The mentorship programme was launched in 2004 to inspire high-calibre undergraduates from local universities or tertiary institutes to join the force as probationary inspectors (PI) immediately after graduation,” Tam says. “Police mentors act as role models and share with the mentees their knowledge, experience and challenges [to help] the personal development of the mentees. [It] is well-received and successful in attracting young graduates to join the force as a PI.” 

The AUS was launched in 2003 to recruit undergraduates from local tertiary institutions as auxiliary police constables. “Tertiary institution undergraduates from local universities and higher-education institutions are eligible to apply,” Tam says. “Selected candidates may join the Hong Kong Auxiliary Police Force to experience the roles and functions of a police officer by supporting the regular force in its daily performance of beat patrol duties.” 

As an equal-opportunity employer, the force encourages ethnic minorities to join through additional outreach work such as career talks in secondary schools. These inspire students to strengthen their language skills in English and Chinese to have a better chance of pursuing a career with the force. 

“In addition, many police districts have organised programmes for NEC [non-ethnic Chinese] youths to help brush up their Chinese language proficiency. For example, police volunteers from Yuen Long Police District and Yau Tsim Police District have taken the lead in running two pilot projects named ‘Project Himalaya’ and ‘Project Gemstone’ respectively to provide training in Chinese for Junior Police Call members.” 

Being a police officer means a lifelong commitment to upholding the rule of law, maintaining law and order, protecting life and property, and preventing and detecting crime. “A police career is demanding and challenging, yet meaningful and rewarding. We look for responsible individuals who share the force’s values, are committed to serving the community and dedicated to becoming a professional police officer.” 

To help newcomers build a career, a structured career path (SCP) is designed for junior inspectors and police constables. “All junior inspectors in their first five years and junior police constables in their first seven years have to go through the SCP. “The SCP ensures these junior supervisory officers acquire the necessary fundamental knowledge and skills on uniformed branch operations and crime investigation during their foundation years,” Tam says.

 “Through the SCP, all junior police officers will go through postings of similar nature and acquire similar frontline experience, regardless of which police districts they are posted to.” 

Other career development, training and advancement opportunities for officers include development programmes for those with potential, a rotation policy for all officers, and force volunteer secondary duties. 

“Officers with a variety of talents, skills and academic backgrounds – such as law, accounting, computer science, engineering, information systems management, criminology and public administration – are capitalised on to meet the various operational needs of different posts,” Tam says.

She explains that with a surge in cybercrimes, the force is focusing on training officers who are tech-savvy. “While the new generation of secondary and university graduates already has basic knowledge in information technology, police officers with an aptitude for computer skills will have the opportunity to be trained in the investigation of cybercrimes and digital forensics.” 

The selection process of PIs consists of a written examination, extended interview, final board interview, physical fitness test and medical examination. Each session comes with different challenge and candidates will be critically assessed on their competence in terms of personality and values, judgment, general knowledge, leadership potential, communication ability, language proficiency, and fitness.

Police inspectors are helped to become professional leaders with the strength of character to take command of situations and the judgment to look beyond the obvious. A PI will undergo 36 weeks of basic training covering leadership, staff management, police procedures, laws, physical training, weapon training and much more. 

“The trainee must pass the Standard One Professional Examination before he or she graduates from the Police College. Upon graduating, supervisors at all levels will continue to coach and guide young inspectors to put the professional knowledge and skills they have learned from training to good use,” Tam says.

For constables, the selection process comprises of a physical fitness test, group interview, final board interview and medical examination.  Candidates are critically assessed on their competence in terms of personality and values, judgment, general knowledge, communication ability, confidence and physical fitness.

 “Police constables are invariably first at the scene of major crimes, emergencies, heated disputes and many other unexpected situations,” Tam says. “Professional and structured training is clearly essential. 

“Once appointed as a recruit police constable, he or she will need to undergo 27 weeks of basic training which includes police procedures, laws, physical training, weapon training and first aid. The trainee must pass the final examination before he or she graduates from Police College. The probationary period for police recruits is three years.” 

Comprehensive details of the Police Force’s selection process are available at www.police.gov.hk/recruitment 

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