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Amid Hong Kong’s extradition bill deadlock, the Hong Kong Police Force is now reaching out to consultancies to upskill the majority of the police on media relations and managing Generation Y employees. The training programmes will start in September.
The media relations workshop – including ambush interview techniques, press conference practice and a study of recent public affairs case studies – aims to help all officers learn how to deliver messages effectively and professionally and how to handle press interviews.
It’s mandatory for police officers with three to seven years of experience to take part in a day-and-a-half workshop, while more senior officers (more than seven years of experience) will be enrolled for a one-day workshop.
The Gen Y management training is targeted at commanders with more than 15 years of experience in the police force. Through learning about the lifestyle and mindset of Gen Ys, senior commanders can understand how to create a sense of belonging for the younger workforce and resolve generational conflicts.
The Police public relations branch told local newspaper Mingpao that the police have previously taken steps towards professional training on media communication and human resources management for its employees.
Senior lecturer of government and public administration at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Choy Chi-Keung, pointed out that press communication training used to be exclusive to senior commanders. However, on account of recent events – in which many frontline police officers have risen to the role of handling the press and have given off a perception of arrogance during interviews – personalised media training should be designed for different levels of officers.
Among all the contentious thorny issues of the ongoing extradition bill mass protests, some frontline police officers’ scathing commentary and measures towards journalists and reporters has prompted huge backlash within mainstream and digital media. The leaked images or videos have soured the police’s relations with the Hong Kong community and the press, while damaging the police’s image and putting Hong Kong’s freedom of press in jeopardy.
On 14 July, seven press unions and organisations spearheaded a protest to condemn the police for violating press freedom.