Weeding out corruptionThe police’s behavior is incredible. The Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency had previously decided to transfer a large number of policemen in southern Seoul - Gangnam, Seocho and Suseo - to other areas to sever old ties between police and entertainment establishments. However, the agency decided yesterday to postpone the transfer.
It was only three days ago that the agency ordered police officers with over eight years of experience to relocate elsewhere.
In the end, the agency was only rushing about with no purpose. It is worrisome that misconduct by police officers and a lack of principles and discipline could result in poor investigation.
The planned transfer was a measure the Seoul police agency came up with after it discovered that police officers in southern Seoul had inappropriate relationships with massage parlors in the area.
In its defense, the Seoul police said that the decision to postpone the transfer came after a realization that just transferring the corrupt officers to another location would have little effect.
As seen in similar cases, transfers made in 1999 and 2003 did not end misconduct by police officers.
Corruption is deeply rooted and replacing police officers would not make any difference.
When spring comes after winter, weeds will grow again. We cannot end misconduct unless the roots of corruption are hollowed out completely by thorough internal investigation.
However, the decision to transfer police officers has shown that the police have more problems than we first thought. If they made a decision to transfer officers, they should have followed through.
Some police officers complained that the agency held only low-ranking officers accountable. There was no self-reflection of wrongdoing committed by colleagues.
Police said the transfer would be made after personnel decisions on police station chiefs are announced shortly.
But the reason behind the delay is a backlash against the transfer. The delay also revealed that the police force has little authority over its officers.
Discipline is most important thing for police who are supposed to protect laws and public safety. National Police commissioner general-designate Kang Hee-rak and other high-ranking police officials should be reminded that discipline comes from setting the right principles and abiding by them.