Community policing in Hong Kong:
the case of 'Police Report'

- Kwok Hong Sang Henson

What is ‘Community policing? It must be a very complicated concept for ordinary people. But if I slightly modify the question, like asking if you have heard or participated in any activities organized by Junior Police Call (JPC) or ‘Police Report’, the situation will be reversed and probably I can receive a lot of feedback due to its huge coverage in local schools as well as in local communities. Same as the majority in the society, I have no idea about community policing or policing until I took a course named Hong Kong Policing taught by Dr. Lawrence Ho in my third year of undergraduate studies. As far as I remember, Dr. Ho concluded that class using a metaphor of buying beverages: Community Policing in Hong Kong is something like ordering drinks in fast food store, if you prefer a glass of fresh orange juice, the reality is the shopkeeper will only offer you a can of soft drink with orange favor. Even if you still have no idea, the result of this typical experience should give you the insights that Hong Kong fail to implement the whole theory of community policing. As a student who is curious to figure out why such a case happen, I finally choose ‘Police Report’ as a starting point to investigate its theory in my honours project.

As reminded by many teachers in my university, honours project is an assignment that is fundamentally different from all of our previous assignments. Rather than just finishing a critique essay for grades after reviewing several secondary sources, it is in a student-led basis. In other words, students use all their learned abilities or theories to make decisions ranging from selection of topic to research methods so that my work can bring both theoretical and practical implication to the society in the future. Therefore, it has been my privilege to have Dr. Ho as my project supervisor and some of his former students beside me, who always provide assistance and guidelines for me. Conducting a project about community policing, that is to study whether a popular program is a case showing components of community policing theories, is never an easy task, especially under the long-existed assumption that a good program means the successful gain of a wide range of popularity. In my opinion, the whole process of my honours project is a good learning opportunity for me to think outside the box and to practise working inside the box. Apart from looking at the same issue from the perspective of a citizen, I can also look at the program in an academic approach to see if it is good as usual. Living in a society where people are smart at gathering information, I believe that learning how to analyze information they have in hand is equally important to minimize making impulsive decisions.

By saying thinking outside the box, I mainly relate that to the preparation part of the project. As mentioned by many teachers at school, students should find and read several articles or journals with similar content to ours so that we can identify the research gap and gain a brief idea about our research field. However, beyond this suggestion, here comes a problem: what if there is no article or journal that fits our research area? By thinking outside the box, I stress that it may help us look for articles that may provide background information for us in an indirect manner. Finally, by linking up their ideas, I can still achieve the same purpose despite having insufficient similar references. In contrast, while extending our reading context, one thing I think we should not forget is the format of conducting an academic research. Looking back at the process of writing my final report, I realised that I spent most of the time struggling how I would write things down. Therefore, to ensure I will not write down anything irrelevant, I have learned how to work inside the box. Other than knowing what components to be included, I train myself to record everything within the designed format which was taught in class. Although this format may not be the best or the most attractive one, from the perspective of readers especially for scholars, I am pretty sure that it should be a rather well-structured one, meaning that readers can easily understand the formation of my project, from the origin of an issue to a reasonable conclusion at the end.

Rounding up my learning outcomes in my honours project, it is a valuable exposure to assess my prior knowledge and equip new proficiency, especially as a student who is going to study for a master degree. I will definitely be more alert to my current mistakes and perform better in the future.