More gripes on cops, but most are false

Local | Sophie Hui 7 Dec 2017

False complaints against police officers have skyrocketed by more than 40 percent, the Independent Police Complaints Council says.

Specifically, there were 73 false allegations as well as 89 substantiated or "substantiated other than reported" instances.

The major complaints concerned neglect of duty, misconduct, behaving in an improper manner, using offensive language and assault.

False allegations rose 43.1 percent compared to the previous year. Another 1,014 complaints were "not pursuable."

The annual report of the IPCC shows the council receiving reports of 1,567 new cases in 2016-17 - similar to the previous term. But the council endorsed 1,550 cases, which was a 13 percent decrease. The watchdog's secretary-general, Richard Yu Koon-hing, said most of the false allegations were related to criminal cases that involved those making complaints.

"Of the 73 allegations classified as false, there were 68 that were related to complainants' criminal cases," he said. "Their allegations were resolved in court and classified as false."

Yu also said such complainants did not advance their allegations after they pleaded guilty in a case or were found guilty. Some people used a complaint against police as a tactic aimed at favoring them in criminal cases, he added. And some were trying to affect police investigations.

The force quoted one instance when a complainant had been charged with possession of a dangerous drug. The claim was that statements he made during investigations had been given under duress. A court ruled otherwise and the complainant pleaded guilty.

IPCC chairman Larry Kwok Lam-kwong said the efficiency of handling cases had improved. The time needed for a review of a complaint had been shortened from the previous term's 144 days to 133 in 2016-17 as the council met once every two months instead of every three.

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