James To says arming off-duty cops with batons may lead to more violence

Local | 11 Sep 2019 12:11 pm

The deputy chair of Legislative Council's security panel has warned that a move to arm off-duty police could lead to serious consequences and further strain the relationship between the public and the police, RTHK reports.

Reacting to a police decision to allow retractable batons even while they are not on duty, lawmaker James To Kun-sun said the decision could potentially lead to conflicts even though officers are bound by regulations on the use of weapons.

He said regulations like having to declare their identity before using a baton may not help to prevent trouble.

The officer may have declared his identity to a young suspect he is trying to subdue, but for the people around it may look like a grown up man attacking a youngster and they may try to intervene, he said.

"This will create possible serious conflict. I urge the police to rethink again," To said.

The Democratic Party legislator also questioned the wisdom of issuing batons to 10,000 police. Many of them are people who do paper work in stations and are not familiar with crowd control or the use of weapons, he pointed out.

To told the public broadcaster that he is worried that this police decision may intensify the violence. Photo: RTHK.

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