Police leadership condemns police officers’ protest against launch of police bureau

Jul 25, 2022, 08:09 am

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Ryu Sam-young, the senior superintendent of Ulsan Jungbu Police Station, speaks after a meeting with fellow senior police officials from across the country at the Police Human Resource Development Institute in Asan, South Chungcheong Province, over the Ministry of the Interior and Safety’s plan to establish a new supervisory bureau over the national police office, on July 23, 2022./ Source: Yonhap

AsiaToday reporters Park Ji-sook & Park Ah-ram 

The police leadership took a hard line after senior police officials held their first open meeting over the establishment of a new supervisory bureau under the Ministry of the Interior and Safety.

The National Police Agency (NPA) immediately suspended a senior superintendent from his job after spearheading a meeting of senior police officials nationwide, and began to investigate the participants of the meeting. Despite the government’s hardline response, the police officials are taking stronger measures, such as engaging in a public relations campaign to point out the problems of the ministry’s strengthening of police control. 

The police agency suspended Ryu Sam-yong, the senior police official who led Saturday’s meeting to protest the government’s plan to establish a supervisory bureau to oversee the nation’s police forces under the direct control of the interior ministry. The agency is also looking into inspecting some 50 superintendents who attended the event. The agency’s order came only two hours after the meeting ended. 

Ulsan Jungbu Police Chief Ryu was the first to suggest holding a meeting of police chiefs across the nation held Saturday. He was appointed as the head of Ulsan Jungbu Police Station in December last year. Therefore, the NPA’s latest order is seen as an apparent disciplinary action against Ryu. 

The agency also decided to conduct inspections on 56 senior police officials who attended the meeting. The NPA said the policy officers violated their ‘duty of obedience’ by failing to comply with Article 57 of the National Public Officials Act, which stipulates that “pubic officials must obey the official orders of their superiors when performing their duties.”

“The meeting was held despite the order for cancellation. We recognize it as a serious situation,” the NPA said in a statement. “Strict action will be taken against those who attended the event after reviewing whether there are any violations of the service regulations.”

The agency excluded 133 general police officers and officials who joined online from the inspection.

However, many within the police circle believe that the ministry’s ignorance of opposition on the establishment of a police bureau and the fact that the police leadership took a hard response against holding a meeting of police chiefs is receiving a backlash from the public. Some claim that it is a violation of fairness comparing with the recent collective action among public prosecutors in a protest against the opposition bloc’s push to strip the prosecution of investigative powers.

Regarding the personnel measures, Ryu said, “The attendees attended the event on a holiday by observing the laws and procedures. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with gathering in the police department on a holiday to discuss a major issue at stake for the future of the police.”

The police leadership has no choice but to closely monitor the senior superintendents as they can influence the general public opinion within the police while serving as police chiefs. This is the first time that high-ranking police officers have convened a general meeting on a specific top that goes against the will of the police leadership. 

Meanwhile, the new police bureau will be launched on Aug. 2 after a Cabinet meeting. 

#police #police bureau #protest #Ryu Sam-young 
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