17,000 cops to retire later amid shortage

Over 17,000 police officers can be retained for another decade with a scheme that raises their retirement age to 60, Secretary for Security Chris Tang Ping-keung said yesterday, as he noted that the force has devised plans to strengthen recruitment.

In a written reply to a question by Legislative Council member Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, he said there has been a continuing decline in the force's turnover rate, from 4.46 percent in 2019/20 to 2.89 percent in 2021/22. Officers left for reasons like retirement, resignation and expired contracts or because they passed away.

Turnover of superintendent or above officers is the highest, but has fallen from 11.98 percent in 2019-2020 to 9.95 percent in 2020-2021, and dropped to 6.95 percent in 2021-2022, numbering 131.

The highest wastage number appeared in rank and file, with 3,094 leaving in the past three years.

In terms of recruitment, a total of 874 people were recruited in 2019/20, nearly half the recruitment target for that year, 754 in 2020/21 and only 654 by 2021/22, only around 40 percent of their targets.

Tang said the force has formulated "detailed human resources and strategic plans to strengthen efforts on recruitment, staff training and career development" that vacancies will be filled through recruitment, promotion and various extension of service measures.

In addition, the Civil Service Bureau has implemented an option for police officers appointed on or after June 1, 2000, and before June 1, 2015, to choose to retire at the age of 60.

The force also launched a scheme allowing all serving officers at non-directorate level, who joined before June 1, 2000, to extend their service up to age 60.

Tang also said the force has always adopted a proactive strategy based on the human resources situation, including publicity through different media platforms and regularly organized various recruitment activities, such as the police recruitment experience and assessment day, as well as education and careers expo.

In addition to the Police University Recruitment Express held at 11 local universities, officers also went to two universities in Guangdong and Fujian in November to recruit Hong Kong students.

"The force will continue to monitor the HR situation, implement effective mechanisms to formulate holistic plans and assess manpower needs," Tang said.