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September 24, 2017

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National Police Agency facing a shortage of 7,000 recruits: gov't

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The nation's police force is facing a shortage of over 7,000 slots, the Executive Yuan's Directorate-General of Personnel Administration (DGPA) said yesterday, adding that it has requested the National Police Agency (NPA) to improve and draft a long-term plan for police recruitment.

A mass stabbing incident occurred on the Taipei Metro on Wednesday afternoon, resulting in four deaths and 23 injuries. Many have suggested that the number of police officers stationed in the Taipei Metro was insufficient and therefore contributed to the incident.

Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) during the Cabinet's weekly meeting requested a cross-ministry report over the incident.

DGPA Minister Huang Fu-yuan (黃富源) during the meeting said he has approved the expansion of the Taipei City Police Department's Rapid Transit Division, noting that, however, the nation is facing a shortage of police personnel.

Huang went on to explain that the government is scheduled to station 73,908 police officers across the nation, however, as of March 31 this year, there are only 66,258 police officers.

The DGPA said the nature of the job requires overtime and work in dangerous environments, therefore, although the government has been recruiting people to join the police force, the number of recruits is not catching up with the number of police who wish to resign.

Chen Chwen-jing (陳純敬), deputy political minister of the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), said his ministry will demand the NPA to rearrange the allocation of police manpower as soon as possible.

After an interpellation session at the Legislative Yuan, Chen told reporters that the MOI will at the same time invite volunteer police to provide assistance, noting that the MOI will draft a plan to attract more people to join the force.

During the interpellation, many lawmakers suggested that the MOI install security detection machines at every MRT station. In response, Chen said the MOI has considered the option, noting that, nevertheless, there are many technical issues that need to be considered as well.

Chen further explained that as the MRT stations will be packed with people during peak hours, whether it would be feasible to conduct security checks on every passenger during rush hour is a question worth considering.

Kuomintang lawmaker Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) during the interpellation urged the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) to strengthen investigation of cyber crimes in order to increase the chance intercepting planned crimes.

In response, CIB Deputy Commissioner Yang Yuan-ming (楊源明) said his bureau did not discover any related intelligence on the Internet before the MRT stabbing incident.

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