Experience Sharing: The Hong Kong Police Force
The Hong Kong Police Force, being the largest vote-funded department, have been actively planning and briefing their staff on the implementation of EPP. Their experience in striving for productivity gains while maintaining high service standards of "Asia's Finest" is worth sharing with us all. 

EPP : minimum pain--optimal gain The experience of the Police Force in enhancing productivity

As far as the Hong Kong Police Force is concerned, we should look at EPP as an educational process aimed at teaching people to live within their means while at the same time improving our services to the public," said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Management) Tsang Yam-pui, following the Police Commissioner's opening remarks to directorate police officers at a special meeting at the Police Training School on 29 January 1999 to discuss the Force implementation of EPP.

To allay incorrect thinking, unhelpful rumours and fears that the whole exercise is to do with cutting back resources or cutting posts, the Commissioner of Police Hui Ki-on has set down four guiding principles that the Force is going to stick to when implementing its EPP strategy.

Mr Hui said at the meeting, "While we must achieve five per cent savings over the next three years, this will be accomplished with absolutely no adverse effect to police services to the community. We will avoid redundancies. And, there is to be no significant depletion of any promotion ranks."

The Force's approach to meeting the requirements of EPP will be to focus on identifying slack areas (reduction and regrading of posts where appropriate); streamlining procedures; a continuation of computerisation; civilianisation of posts not necessary to be filled by police; employment of non-civil service contract staff; out-sourcing of services and support functions; and reduction and deletion of unnecessary internal services, including services provided to other Government departments.

The Force will begin to set new limits on spending and create the right atmosphere for starting the search for practical short-term savings with a view to delivering five per cent savings in the three years starting on 1 April 2000.

Acting responsibly in the normal day-to-day management of its resources is nothing new to the Force, which over the past few years has achieved remarkable success in a number of efficiency enhancement projects.

For example, in 1996-97 the Force reduced $23 million full year Auxiliary Police Special Duty Quota to fund 129 regular Police Constable (PC) posts.

In 1997-98, a revision of Marine Police's duty shift patterns saved substantial expenses on Disciplined Services Overtime Allowance (DSOA) for the creation of 314 additional PC posts. Coupled with further redeployment of Auxiliary Police Special Duty Quota to fund 129 regular PC posts in 1997-98, the total funds redeployed to fund 443 additional PC posts in 1997-98 amounted to $85 million full year.

The 1998 amalgamation of Field Patrol Detachment with Border District yielded $48 million DSOA savings on a full year basis for creating 235 PC posts in 1998-99. In the same year, DSOA savings from Crime Units and Uniform Branch amounting to $70 million. This has been deployed to partially fund the Junior Police Officer salary review, the full year annual recurrent cost of which is $99 million.

Furthermore, in 1998 the money saved in contracting out to Police Training School's catering was redeployed to create 26 other much needed posts including three additional Force Clinical Psychologist posts.

In effect, the Force is always mindful of productivity enhancement with existing resources and has already been practising -- and with great success. Which is why the Commissioner of Police is confident that the Force can fulfil its EPP commitment, while at the same time enhancing its services to the public.

Editor's Note: The Hong Kong Police Force is one of the five selected vote-funded departments for operating on one-line vote in 1999-2000. We wish the Force greater success in achieving productivity gains with this added tool.

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