Police: We Are Open on Improvements to Spot News Dissemination Mechanism

Li Kin-fai - Chief Superintendent

(Editor note: Provided below is the reproduction of the response from Mr Li Kin-fai on behalf of the Police Commissioner.)

Police respect freedom of press and the right to reporting. It is the Police's established policy to facilitate the media as far as possible in news reporting.

The Police's Third Generation Command and Control Communications System (CC3) has come into operation by phases since the end of 2004. When an emergency call is received by the 999 Control Centre, Police will deploy officers to scene to ascertain the nature of the incident reported. On arrival at scene, the officers, depending on the circumstances, will take immediate action to protect life and property. When the officers have completed their preliminary action, they will report back to the 999 Control Centre to confirm the type of incident. If the incident is of significance or involves public interest or public safety, the 999 Control Centre will pass the relevant information on the case to PPRB which will then disseminate the information in the form of "Attention News Editors" (“ANE”) through the Government News and Media Information System of the Information Services Department. The media will decide whether to cover the incident at scene. It is possible that no “ANE" will be issued on certain days if Police do not receive any reports that are of significance or involve public interest or safety.

In deciding what information should be disseminated, Police will take into consideration the public's right to know, the requirement of the Code on Access to Information, and the principles that the information would not involve personal privacy and affect judicial procedures. Police will provide the media with information on relevant incidents as long as they are in line with these principles.

The issuing of "ANE" is an enhanced service provided to the media. The newsroom of PPRB operates round the clock to provide the media with non-stop enquiry services. For major cases and those involving public interest, Police will, depending on the circumstances, make arrangements for case officers to brief the media at scene. Press releases on the latest development of the incidents will also be issued. PPRB will from time to time organise press interviews, media visits, briefings and press conferences on the crime situation and work of the Force.

Police will continue to facilitate the media as far as possible by providing timely information. We are open to all suggestions that can help enhance the current information dissemination mechanism. We shall liaise with your Association shortly to arrange a meeting to discuss the relevant mechanism.