[EDITORIALS]Precautions needed for policeThe police have decided to come up with a new plan to strengthen law enforcement activities in order to fight violent crimes. This comes as a result of the recent killing of two police detectives by a man during an attempted arrest. The incident proved how feeble the police can be. And in order to maintain civil safety, the police must strengthen law enforcement measures.
Part of this effort includes comprehensively expanding the provision on using firearms against a criminal suspect. This appears effective in curbing the ever-growing dangerous crimes in the country. Currently, police officers can use weapons only if they believe the suspect has committed a crime that can draw at least a three-year prison sentence or if the suspect does not surrender after three demands to do so. There are five such provisions on the use of firearms.
Moreover, in order to carry firearms, the police officers must first gain permission from the police chief, among other such cumbersome processes. Also, after the use of these weapons, the police are forced to undergo an inspection and investigation of the legitimacy of the use of these arms, causing many police officers to avoid carrying guns.
Therefore, by including “when the police find no other means other than the use of a firearm,” the new plan wiil mitigate the provision on the use of firearms so that police officers can respond more actively to violent crimes. However, in order to prevent harm to innocent civilians, the manner and circumstances in which they should be used should be more specifically outlined. Also, the police should increase training for the use of weapons and be responsible about determining where the responsibility lies after the use of firearms.
Strengthening law enforcement measures does not mean that there should be an abuse of authority. It is wrong to fine a person 200,000 won ($173) for refusing to respond to random questions from the police. Random questioning is an illegal measure that the courts consider to be an infringement of human rights. The freedom of nationals should not be limited for the sake of strengthening security.
Law enforcement exists to prevent crime and to establish social order, which are the duty of the police. It should not become something that causes discomfort to the ordinary lives of citizens.