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Address by Mr K C Kwong
Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting at Passing Out Parade of The Police Training School

24 April 1999

Commissioner, Commandant, Officers on Parade, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honoured to be invited to take the salute at today's passing out parade, not least because I came from a Police family - my father was a policeman and my two brothers used to work in the Police Force. Were it not for my physique, I might have joined the Force as well! I am therefore somewhat envious of those of you who are graduating today; but I would of course wish to extend my warmest congratulations to them.

The Police Force today is very different in one respect from that in my late father's days. It uses the most advanced information technology in the discharge of its constabulary duties. Let me illustrate with a few examples.

In the deployment of resources, the Force is well served by the Enhanced Command And Control Computer System which provides effective support to '999' emergency calls and incident handling. To further enhance the system's capabilities, I understand that the Force has plans in hand to equip patrol vehicles and officers on the beat with mobile, hand-held terminals for on-line access to the Force's databases to facilitate even faster tactical responses to incidents.

Then there are the intelligent systems which help criminal investigation. The Facial Identikit Tool which utilises artificial intelligence can help duty officers to compose, interactively with the witnesses, the facial drawing of a suspect on the computer screen while the suspect's appearance is still fresh in the witnesses' memory. Identification of suspects is further facilitated by the Computer Assisted Fingerprint Identification System which has a database of some 842,000 fingerprint forms. Furthermore, the Force has a Criminal Intelligence Computer System which allows officers to perform searches on its database containing criminal intelligence data. All these help to increase significantly the chances of apprehending the culprit in the shortest possible time.

On the management side, the Duty Scheduler System automates the production of daily and weekly duty lists and eliminates the repetitive and boring entries of duty lists into the Enhanced Command And Control Computer System. The Communal Information System provides management reports to assist the Force management to identify crime patterns and monitor resource utilisation in various formations. At the back office, the Personnel Information Communal System provides a comprehensive, central database of Police officers at all ranks.

I could go on and on in my description of all the computer systems and IT applications available to the Police Force in the discharge of its constabulary duties, but I think I should stop here. Suffice it to say that you are not complacent and that you are continuing your investigation of opportunities to make further, innovative use of new information technology tools to help you do a better job. Having said all that, I am sure you will agree with me that technology is just a means to an end, and there is no replacement for your skills, your intelligence, your dedication and your will to serve the community and to maintain law and order. These are the attributes of the Police Force which have remained unchanged since my late father's policing days.

I am glad to see over 200 young men and women graduating today. Through your efforts, you will help to make Hong Kong a better and safer place to live in. I wish you every success in your career.

Thank you.