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Volunteer Traffic Police establishes service in MRT trains and stations

TAIPEI, Taiwan --The Taipei City Volunteer Traffic Police Battalion (臺北市義交大隊) yesterday established a metro patrol squadron that will be stationed in 11 MRT stations to assist officers from the Taipei City Police Department's (TCPD) Rapid Transit Division in metro security.

Seventy volunteer officers began their service yesterday equipped with batons. According to TCPD Commissioner Huang Sheng-yung (黃昇勇), since the panic caused by metro stabbing assailant Cheng Chieh (鄭捷) in May, the department has dispatched a lot of manpower to patrol MRT train cars and stations. This has caused officers to report that they have been overworked. The squadron is made up of experienced members who used to serve in the volunteer traffic police battalion as well as retired soldiers, policemen and security guards, said Volunteer Traffic Police Battalion Captain Kao Ping-i (高炳義), who will patrol the metro station exits and platforms to create a safe environment.

Taipei City Councilwoman Questions Patrols

In related news, Taipei City councilwoman Yan Sheng-guan (顏聖冠) yesterday released a press statement that questioned the TCPD's supposed authorization to enlist 200 Substitute Services (替代役) draftees as security patrols for the Taipei MRT.

Reportedly, the decision was made as a result of the TCPD having difficulties dispatching and managing enough police officers to handle MRT patrolling demands following the stabbing incident, which is why the voluntary metro patrol squadron plan was implemented yesterday.

Yan said in her statement that although the voluntary officers are only equipped with batons, the squadron of experienced officers could handle unexpected emergency situations.

By contrast, Substitute Services draftees only receive three weeks of boot camp training and two days of seminars before they are forced to take on security responsibilities. Such rushed trainings mean that the draftees might have difficulties defending themselves and others during a violent situation, Yan said.

In response, Captain Sung Ching-wu (宋景武) of TCPD's Rapid Transit Division stated that the draftees are only responsible for keeping order in the metro, and they will be paired up with actual police officers. As the draftees' job is of an auxiliary nature, they will not be allowed to carry firearms. Reportedly, the 200 draftees will report for duty on Sept. 25.

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