New autonomous police system to have 43,000 officers in 2022

Nov 14, 2018, 09:39 am

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AsiaToday reporter Park Byung-il 

The Moon Jae-in administration has completed its scheme for introducing a new autonomous police system that it has been pushing for, along with decentralization.

A municipal and provincial police committee, a consensus-based administrative body, will be established in each city and province. Besides, the autonomous police headquarters and the autonomous police forces will be introduced to assume duties related to public safety. Some 43,000 police officers from the national police organization will be successively transferred to local police forces. Five regions, including Seoul, Sejong and Jeju, will test-run the new autonomous police system next year before it goes into full operation nationwide in 2022.

The autonomous police system is expected to allow local police forces to formulate and implement local security policy and to promote customized service for residents. 

However, some are concerned that the police forces would be put under the direct control of local governments or create cozy relations with the native force, bringing harmful effect. Besides, different scale of budget by municipalities may provoke a backlash among local residents over the level of security services. 

The Presidential Committee for Decentralization held a policy forum at the Seoul Central Government Complex with some 150 people from related organizations, autonomous communities, and associations, and announced its plan to implement the new autonomous police system.

Under the plan, the autonomous police body is divided into metropolitan, municipal and provincial units. The autonomous police headquarters will be established in metropolitan units while the autonomous police forces will be established in cities, counties and districts. Local police forces will control police precinct offices and police boxes, which are currently under the national police body. The national police body will operate local patrol teams for serious and urgent cases. 

The autonomous police system will be piloted in five regions, including Seoul, Sejong and Jeju next year. Up to 8,000 police officers will shift to autonomous police forces. The new autonomous police system will have 43,000 police officers in 2022, accounting for 36 percent of the nation’s total police officers.

The head of the autonomous police department and the head of the autonomous police force will be appointed by the governor of the city or province on the recommendation of the new municipal and provincial police committee.

The new municipal and provincial police committees, aimed to secure the political neutrality of the autonomous police establishment and avoid abuse of power of the head of the local government, will be operated in the form of a consensus-based administrative body. The members of the municipal and provincial committees are appointed by the municipal and provincial governor, and local councils are responsible for the supervision of the committees. 

“The autonomous police system reflects the trend of decentralization, and it is an urgent issue to build a safer Republic of Korea,” said Chung Soon-gwan, head of the Committee for Decentralization. 

#autonomous police system #police committee #decentralization #Moon Jae-in #local police forces 
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