Police set up child rape task forces

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Police set up child rape task forces

After a wave of child rapes in the past two years, top national police officials yesterday decided to set up separate task forces in police precincts throughout the country to handle such crimes.

“All officers in command should make the prevention of child sex abuse top priority,” said Commissioner General Kang Hee-rak during an unprecedented, five-hour conference, which was called to discuss the child rapes and other recent incidents that have damaged the police’s reputation, including allegations that five Yangcheon police officers tortured suspects during police investigations. It also discussed the internal division within the police chain of command that started when a former senior superintendent demanded Kang step down for poor management.

“Reality will have us collide into obstacles,” said Kang, “but the public expects the police to block all crimes. Police should not be passive in reacting, but cooperate in an active manner.”

Each of the task forces will be manned with 10 to 15 officers.

Sex crimes against children will also be prevented by the development of a new sex-offender map system, police officials said.

“The map system will be used by police to aid neighborhood patrols and put away suspects,” said one official at the conference. “Although the Korean public will not be able to access all the information on the offenders, the police will warn neighborhoods separately on areas that are at high-risk, something like crime forecasts.”

The police currently have a map locating all criminals in Korea, but do not have a separate one for sex offenders.

The task forces will concentrate exclusively on sex crimes against minors and will also specialize in helping victims recuperate from their experiences.

By Kang In-sik, Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]
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