Police boast of effective attacking of ‘social evils’

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Police boast of effective attacking of ‘social evils’

On Tuesday afternoon, the National Police Agency (NPA) in Seodaemun District, central Seoul, was crowded with many high-ranking police officers from across the country.

Sixteen chiefs of local police agencies and many other officers were in Seoul to participate in a discussion to evaluate their performances in rooting out the “four social evils.”

When the Park Geun-hye administration began operating in February, the government declared that it will try to root out four social evils: sexual violence, domestic violence, bullying and unsafe food, in order to strengthen public safety.

In response to the policy, the police soon established a project headquarters for the task, and Tuesday was the 100th day since the headquarters was established.

“Many police officers voluntarily gave up their regular vacations for the task in the last 100 days,” Lee Sung-han, commissioner of the NPA, said at the meeting.

According to a report, the number of sex offenders caught by police increased by 25 percent in the last 100 days when compared to last year, and the number of domestic violence arrests increased by 72.2 percent in the same period.

It also stated that the police arrested 2,469 people who had produced and sold unsafe food.

As of right now there are no numbers regarding convictions.

The police, with about 125,000 officers nationwide, has heavily concentrated on the four areas in the last 100 days. The numbers it proudly stated yesterday doesn’t look like it has done an excellent job considering the amount of resources it has put into these four areas.

The police has actively advertised its activities in many ways, though some criticized them as a mere display.

On every Sunday at Gwanghwamun Plaza, central Seoul, new officers on the force have been holding a musical performance along with a discussion, titled “Four social evils out concert” and local police precinct officers have been producing video clips that contain campaign songs to encourage citizens to participate in rooting out social evils and distributing them on the Web.

The police activity intensified after the NPA chief warned police forces to produce results in April. They provided an evaluation system to evaluate their performance, and part of the evaluation will be scored by citizens.

The biggest mark, making up 50 percent of the evaluation, is the sensory safety level (how safe citizens feel), which led the police to carry out a series of campaigns so the public can see them in action.

By Chug Kang-hyun, Kwon Sang-soo [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]
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