Discipline more important than crime rate: Ma

The China Post staff

Taipei City’s scandal-ridden police yesterday cited decreasing crime rates to defend their performance, but Mayor Ma Ying-jeou said that the force’s discipline problems would cancel out any favorable statistics. “Police discipline is more important than crime figures,” Ma said after listening to a high-ranking officer make a report on the significant decline in crime in the city. “Police discipline affects the people’s trust in the police, and once the people have lost trust, any figures will be useless,” said Ma, adding the hard-won trust could easily be destroyed by a single scandal.

Admitting law and order has turned for the better over the past three years, Ma nevertheless said the police are not doing the people a favor in fighting crime. The people pay police and expect them to do the job, he said.

He demanded the city police work out a plan to solve their discipline problems. While the mayor was speaking, a fresh scam involving traffic officers emerged to plague the city police, already been hit by two scandals in recent weeks. At least one officer from the traffic corps has been alleged to have faked crackdown records on overloaded dump trucks. And city councilors said more might have been involved. Over the past few weeks, the juvenile police corps have been disgraced by the escape of a suspect from their custody, and by a prostitute’s allegations that she had been forced to have sex with an informant at the unit’s headquarters. Mayor Ma quickly replaced the head of the juvenile corps, but the scandals have threatened his reelection campaign. His rival, Lee Ying-yuan from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, has criticized the mayor for failing to fight crime, and to discipline the police. But Chiu Feng-kuang, head of the city’s criminal police, said it was a lie to say social order was declining in Taipei.