Civic groups have exposed the Kaohsiung police for including positive media exposure in the performance evaluations of officers. A police rights group says officers are under so much pressure to get media attention that they don't think twice about violating confidentiality laws.
Police are on duty on the street, citing traffic violations or cracking down on crimes. However, civic groups including the Judicial Reform Foundation say many Kaohsiung police stations order officers to get as much media attention as possible and base performance evaluations on positive media exposure.
Cheng Wen-lung, Committee Convener, Judicial Reform Foundation: “Police officers have a hard enough job as it is, and on top of that they have to meet these inappropriate performance targets set by their superiors. This means they have no time for basic police tasks.”
Leaked Kaohsiung City Police Department documents show the department keeps track of the number of positive news reports published, with officers getting one point for every online report and four times the points for front-page headline stories in the three major dailies. Stations are also ranked by number of points. Police rights groups say officers are under so much pressure to get the media attention that they don't think twice about releasing names, recordings and other confidential case information to the media.
Hsiao Jen-hao, Board Director, Taiwan Police Union: “Many municipalities have media exposure requirements for their officers. Take Kaohsiung, for example. There are countless cases of officers directly handing secretly recorded footage over to the media. This is of course highly inappropriate, not to mention illegal.”
In response, the Kaohsiung City Police Department says it keeps statistics to motivate officers and improve the image of the police, and no one is penalized for lack of media exposure. It also says it abides by all disclosure-related laws and regulations and holds evaluation meetings regularly.