[EDITORIALS]Law revision hastyThe government and the governing Uri Party have agreed to enforce a revised law governing police promotion from next month. Under the law, revised late last year, one year is cut from the mandatory number of years in service for a policeman to get a one-rank promotion.
This law was scarred from the early stage of its legislation on account of the discord between the government and the Uri Party. At first, the Blue House put the brakes on because of budget issues and equity problems with other civil servants, then the government presented another revision.
After that, the government and the Uri Party reversed again. After conferring with the Blue House, the party asked the government to enforce the law as it was first drafted, and the government accepted that request. Therefore, the criticism naturally follows that such moves eye political gains to soothe the police body, with local elections ahead in May. As a result of the fluster, the police suffered confusion and discord between the governing party, the government and the Blue House was exposed to the general public again.
It’s true that police have suffered a relative disadvantage in promotions compared with other civil servants. However, we also have to consider the burden that accompanies the revised law. Only this year, about 20,000 policemen will be considered for promotion, under the revised law. According to the Ministry of Planning and Budget, about 300 billion won ($309 million) of additional funds will be required over the next five years. The government and the Uri Party also decided to reduce the number of years in service for firefighters to be promoted. It is quite plausible that correctional officers, in a similar working environment, will demand the same treatment. Under the Roh Moo-hyun administration, the number of civil servants is increasing rapidly. Who will be responsible for the inflation of civil servant salaries? The burden will go in full to the public. This is why we need long-term and systematic measures for promotion.
The police also showed indecency regarding the law revision. A group of police petitioned the Constitutional Court against the president, and lower-rank police organized resistance against their bosses. The police body welcomes this law revision, but it is also concerned, saying, “The police will ease off too much as they will be promoted automatically following years in service.”
We hope the police take this as a chance to be reborn anew.