Applications to join the police force have quadrupled since the minimum height restriction was canceled and mainland recruitment was allowed, Security Minister Chris Tang Ping-keung said.
Tang said in a Legislative Council security panel meeting yesterday that applications for police inspectors doubled in May.
“We believe this is due to our updates in height, weight and vision test restrictions,” he said. “An inch shorter than the requirements will not affect job performance. We want to make sure they are qualified before we let them graduate from the police academy.”
The minimum height of 163 centimeters and weight of 50 kilograms for male candidates and 152 centimeters and 42 kilograms for women were scrapped on 5 May. Applicants must also wear corrective lenses in the visual acuity test.
A written test consisting of 60 multiple choice questions was introduced to allow candidates who did not reach Level 2 of the Diploma of Secondary Education in Chinese and English to achieve equivalent qualifications.
Since November, the force has organized police university recruitment (mainland) in major cities in China. Recruitment lectures were held for Hong Kong students studying in the mainland, along with on-site recruitment.
Around 2,300 students from mainland universities participated, and 477 applications were received. Of these, 123 students passed the selection process.
Legco member Ambrose Lam San-keung said the younger generation harbored a misunderstanding of the police and hopes the force will take care of that in its recruitment strategies.
Tang said police will encourage students to participate through mentoring programs in high schools and universities. Various channels such as social media are also used to promote the force.
“Police-community relations are starting to normalize. We will continue to build the positive image of the police force, such as rolling out promotional videos,” he said.
The police will go into schools to carry out promotion and communicate with citizens to avoid stigmatizing the force.
According to the Security Bureau, vacancies in disciplinary services were at 12.1 percent last year, with more than 2,020 employees lost, 770 of whom resigned.
The force has the most vacancies. It has an unemployment rate of 17.8 percent with more than 5,900 vacancies at the end of March.