Police officers are in the spotlight following the launch on Saturday of a nationwide campaign to improve their behavior ahead of next year's Olympics.
Spearheaded by the Ministry of Public Security, the campaign will assess the behavior of on-duty officers, particularly those working in public areas and policing large-scale events.
"Police inspectors, both uniformed and plainclothes, will monitor mostly community, traffic and patrol police, to see how they behave when people ask them for help," the ministry's spokesman Wu Heping, said.
In addition, operators of the police hotline, station officers and those responding to incidents will be closely watched to ensure they have a positive attitude, do not neglect their duties and provide proper and effective help, Wu said.
The campaign, which aims to improve discipline and regulate law enforcement procedures, was launched concurrently in the six cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Qingdao, Shenyang, Tianjin and Qinhuangdao that will co-host Olympic events.
It will be rolled out to other major tourist centers on January 1 and is scheduled to run until next October.
"If a member of the public sees a police officer smoking, eating or chatting on duty - all of which are regarded as harmful to the image of the police - they can report them by dialing 110," Jia Chunming, vice-director of the police affairs supervision division of the Beijing municipal public security bureau, told reporters at the launch of the compaign.
"We will immediately check to see if the report is true.
"If it is, the officer concerned will be punished accordingly. This might include being temporarily stripped of their uniforms, confiscation of their badges or even suspension," Jia said.
Officers will also be penalized for not wearing their uniforms or badges in the proper manner, he said.
During the campaign, inspectors will also check the management and use of police vehicles, Wu said.
Police vans must have license plates and the appropriate signs, lights and alarms, and if not on urgent duty, they must adhere to traffic rules, he said.
Zeng Qinghui, a traffic police officer with the Shuaifuyuan section of the Beijing traffic management bureau, which is in charge of traffic administration for some core areas including Tian'anmen Square and East Chang'an Boulevard, welcomed the campaign.
He said his team had a good record on behavior and was efficient at managing traffic according to regulations.
"We will answer the authorities' call to improve our performance and deal with the trivial problems we have with a small number of officers," he told China Daily.
"We will spare no effort to do a great job for the Games and beyond."
(China Daily September 3, 2007)