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China Daily Website

Workload overwhelms police, deputy says

Updated: 2013-03-10 07:53
By Cui Jia ( China Daily)

Police officers around China are under enormous pressure from a growing caseload, including crowd incidents, because the force is under staffed, a deputy to the National People's Congress from Jiangxi province said on Sunday.

"Shortage of staff can mean we are not digging into cases deeply enough, which may cause possible suspects to be at large," said Zhou Junjun, a deputy to the NPC and instructor of Zhaochen police station of Ruichang Public Security Bureau, during a question-and-answer session with China's Internet users.

This year the press center of the NPC has organized four online Q&A sessions so that Internet users could communicate directly with the deputies.

"Stressed and overworked police officers may present a bad attitude when handling cases because they feel restless and anxious, which will irritate the general public and make people distrust the officers," he added.

Zhou said the police station he works at has only six police officers but has to serve more than 48,000 people. He said the situation is even worse in some other stations.

"The number of officers has been increasing, but when compared with the surging workload, it's just a drop in the bucket," he said. "The number of police officers must catch up with the society's development."

According to figures released by the Ministry of Public Security, 2,182 police officers died while on duty between 2006 and 2010, and 47 percent of those died suddenly. Officials said overwork is the top reason. Traffic police and officers from local public security bureaus have relatively more casualties.

"That means more than one police officer died each day, and many prematurely, between 2006 and 2010," Zhou said. "I've seen so many colleagues who were sick because of heavy workload."

He added that in some developed countries the ratio of officers to the public is kept around 30 to 10,000 or even 40 to 10,000, but the ratio in China is only about 12 to 10,000.

"It might take several years for our proposals to recruit more staff to be approved by the Ministry of Public Security, but the workload will increase even more by that time."

"Based on reports from routine health checks, the health condition of police officers is worrying," said Liang Zhiyi, a deputy to the NPC and director of community squad of He-cheng police station, Gaoming subbureau of Foshan Public Security, Guangdong province. "Police officers face high risk, pollution and noise, so they need to be better protected."

Liang suggested creating a nationwide health insurance plan that would improve coverage of all front-line officers so they could carry out their duties care-free.

Workload overwhelms police, deputy says

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