TAIPEI (CNA) — The National Police Agency (NPA) said Tuesday that it will stop using driving under the influence (DUI) arrests as a performance indicator for its officers and will push for stiffer penalties for that offense.
The NPA issued the statement in the wake of a fatal road accident that occurred Aug. 28 while a police officer was chasing a DUI suspect on a motorbike, who had refused to comply when he was pulled over by police.
While giving chase, also on a motorbike, the officer Hsueh Ting-yueh (薛定岳) of the New Taipei Xizhi Precinct crashed into a divider and died later in the day of head injuries.
On Tuesday, Hsueh’s fiancée, known only by her surname Hou (侯), posted an emotional message on Facebook, calling on President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to institute reforms regarding the performance indicators for police officers.
Hou said that while crime solving numbers must be considered when measuring performance, police officers should not have to pursue arrest quotas as it puts too much pressure on them.
She also urged the authorities to provide police officers with better safety equipment and to introduce tougher penalties for drunk driving.
A few hours after Hou’s post appeared, the NIA issued a statement, saying it will abolish the arrest quotas at all police precincts nationwide and that the number of DUI arrests will no longer be used as a performance indicator for police officers.
The agency also said it will pursue harsher penalties for offenses against law-enforcing personnel.
In response, Tsai did not issue any concrete instructions related to Hou’s appeals, but said she has asked Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) to conduct a review of the relevant regulations.
Tsai also expressed her deep condolences over the death of the police officer.
Earlier this year, the Legislature passed a law amendment that increased the fines for drunk driving.
Under the amended law that took effect July 1, first time DUI drivers are subject to a fine of between NT$30,000 (US$965) and NT$120,000, while for motorcyclists the DUI fine is NT$15,000-NT$90,000.
For repeat offenders, the fine is NT$120,000 on the second DUI offense, and NT$210,000 on the third.
Prior to July, the DUI fine was NT$15,000-NT$90,000 each time for both motorcyclists and drivers.
By Huang Li-yun and Chung Yu-chen