|National Police Agency|
|Force Size||68,818 (2004)|
|Headquarters||No. 7, Section 1, Zhongxiao East Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City 10058, Taiwan (ROC)|
|List of law enforcement agencies|
Unlike the police system in USA, the central government appoints the head positions of city and county Police Departments in Taiwan and thus forms a solid chain of command for all police personnel. By calling a personnel review board, the Director-General of NPA has the full control of personnel rotation and transfer, as well as administrative commendations and reprimands over all high ranking police officers, including chiefs of local police departments.
One exception is the President of the Central Police University, who is directly subordinate to the Minister of the Interior, and is not subject to the NPA personnel review board.
There are also nine active field police squads
Two task-force-grouped centers include:
Local city and county governments are responsible for allocating funds for their local police departments and local police chiefs must attend city or county council meetings to answer questions from council members. While all high ranking police officers are subject to personnel rotation and transfer by the NPA, under the wake of local autonomy beginning in 1990, the NPA Director-General will usually consult with local officials regarding the appointment of local police chiefs.
The Police Commissioners of the Taipei and Kaohsiung City Police Departments hold the rank of "Director-General, first level, which is the same as the Director-General of National Police Agency.
Although the Directors-General of the Taipei and Kaohsiung City Police Departments hold the same rank as the Directors-General of National Police Agency and Central Police University(中央警察大學), the latter two are both presidential commissions and appointed by the Minister of the Interior. As a courtesy, the two local Directors-General usually wear a lower rank in public.Police system of Japan, in the capital Taipei City, the city government has its own Taipei City Police Department and a subordinate criminal investigative force, "Criminal Investigation Division", which is also an active and famous police force in the field.
After the end of Japanese colonization in October 1945, they were used continuously until the official establishment of Police Office of Kaohsiung City on 8 November 1945. This new police office was in charge of the maintenance of law and order of the whole city. On 14 February 1946, there was the establishment of the 1st and 2nd Precincts, Marine Branch Office and Fire Office. In 1958 the Police Office of Kaohsiung City was permitted to be promoted as a police department of Grade B system. Meanwhile, two more Precinct Offices were added.
On 1 July 1970 the police office was furthermore promoted as the only one belonging to Grade A system in Taiwan Police System. Under it, there were 7 Police Precincts established. On 1 July 1979 Kaohsiung City was officially promoted as a direct-control municipal city under the central government. The Police Office of Kaohsiung City was officially named as Kaohsiung Municipal Police Department
Today, its table of organization contains 312 police officers and three field police brigades: Forces of "Criminal Investigation", "Special Police" and "Traffic Police."
There is no police precincts(分局) in Kinmen. The Kinmen County Police Department has direct control over its six police institutes(所), which are somehow between the level of "police precinct" and "police station."
"Wu-chiu dispatched Police Station" is attached to the Kinmen County Police Department for the convenience of administration.
Lien-chiang County Police Department was formed with 17 police officers in 1956 as a military security detail "Lien-chiang County Police Institute" under Matsu military committee. In December 1965, it was re-designated as "Lien-chiang County Police Department." In May 1967, it was then separated from a military unit and turned into a real civilian police force with four dispatched police stations.
After two expansions in June 1979 and in November 1998, it now contains 124 police officers and two field police brigades: Forces of "Criminal Investigation" and "Special Police and Traffic."
In August 2001, Lien-chiang County Police Department reorganized and upgraded its four dispatched police stations to four "police institutes." Among them, two police stations are added to "Nankan Police Institute" and one "Dongjyu Police Station" on Dungjyu island is formed up and subordinated to "Chukuang Police Institute."
|Police Rank 5 (Police Officer I)||One Star on One Horizontal Bar|
|Police Rank 4 (Police Officer II)||Two Stars on One Horizontal Bar|
|Police Rank 3 (Senior Police Officer)||Three Stars on One Horizontal Bar|
|Police Rank 2 (Assistant Inspector)(Sergeant)||Four Stars on One Horizontal Bar|
|Police Rank 1 (Inspector)(Sub-Lieutenant)||One Star on Two Horizontal Bars|
|Police Supervisor Rank 4 (Senior inspector)(Captain)||Two Stars on Two Horizontal Bars|
|Police Supervisor Rank 3 (Superintendent)||Three Stars on Two Horizontal Bars|
|Police Supervisor Rank 2 (Senior Superintendent)||Four Stars on Two Horizontal Bars|
|Police Supervisor Rank 1 (Superintendent General)||One Star on Gold Field|
|Chief Superintendent General||Two Stars on Gold Field|
|Deputy Director General||Three Stars on Gold Field|
|Director General||Four Stars on Gold Field|
Before 1999, the lowest-grade street policemen held the rank of Police Officer II, denoted by an insignia of two stars on one horizontal bar, sometimes referred to colloquially as "一毛二" or "one dime and two cents." On March 3, 1999, an adjustment of "the table of police positions and corresponding ranks" or "各級警察機關學校警察官職務配階表", from the Ministry of Interior resulted in regular policemen or women on street holding the rank of Senior Police Officer, denoted by "three stars on one horizontal bar", nicknamed "一毛三" or "one dime and three cents.
The first formal police forces in Taiwan were organized by the Japanese Colonial Government which oversaw Taiwan between 1895 and 1945. In the early years of Japanese rule, rebellions were common especially in rural areas. With the passage of the "Bandit Laws", police forces as well as garrison units from the Japanese military were tasked with suppression of rebels, though large scale rebellions had largely died out by 1902. Military and police forces were also involved in the efforts of the colonial government to secure control over the mountainous regions of Taiwan from the Taiwanese aborigines around 1910, and a series of smaller attempted rebellions and civil disorders between 1912 and 1916 With the gradual acceptance of Japanese rule sinking in among the general populace by the 1920s, most agitators turned to seeking political change and reform within the established system in the home rule movement, Secret police forces were tasked with keeping a close watch on political groups and agitators.
Most of the members of the police forces during this time were expatriate Japanese, though towards the latter period of Japanese rule, locals began to be recruited. Throughout much of this time, the police forces were granted broad power and authority and allegations of police brutality were common, especially during the earlier periods of Japanese rule. Consequently, they were not particularly liked by the general populace, and were often viewed as a symbol of the more oppressive side of Japanese rule; though this gradually changed with the stabilization of the political situation. Nonetheless, Japan was generally credited for formally establishing law and order in what had previously been a hotbed of rebellion and lawlessness during Ching Dynasty rule. Much of the law enforcement infrastructure and traditions developed during this time would continue to be used under postwar ROC rule.
Between 1945 and 1988, police officers in Taiwan wore khaki uniforms with khaki combination caps similar to those worn by naval officers, or with white plastic helmets similar to the U.S. Navy Shore patrol. Critics noted the similarity to military uniforms, eventually leading to the revision of police uniforms in 1988.
On 5 February 1951, by the power of the now-abolished law of contravention, police officers could grab men with long hairdo and use scissors to cut the men's long hair. So applied to mini-skirts, Hawaii shirts, flared trousers, or other clothes of the men or women with irregular dressing. On 5 February 1972, Taipei City Police Department even launched a mass-detainment against people who dressed like hippies.
In 1972, to streamline organizational costs, the National Police Department was merged with the Taiwan Police Administration to form the new National Police Agency (NPA).
The first 4 Directors-General of NPA, between 1972 and 1990, were active general officers transferred from Army or Marine Corps:
The Taiwan police system at that time only played as a supportive role, like performing frequent surveillance, for example. Nevertheless, the governmental body of Taiwan police system back then was and still is subjective to the supervision and coordination of National Security Bureau of the ROC National Security Council. The main secret-police work were held up by other security units listed below. Several units in the past like National Security Bureau or National Bureau of Investigation were much more fearful or despicable to the people of Taiwan. However, by the end of the Martial-Law era, these so-called "secret police" units were legalized, transformed into intelligence-oriented or law-enforcement units, or even disbanded.
The typical secret-police example of the involvement from several security units is Peng Ming-min (彭明敏), the famous Taiwanese political prisoner since 1960s. Tipped off by several civilians, Peng was at first arrested by a police detail from local police station in Taipei City. Immediately, he was sent to Taiwan Garrison Command for interrogation, which was led by its Division of Political Warfare. Sequentially, Peng was courted-martial by a military tribunal organized by "Division of Judge Advocate General" of Taiwan Garrison Command. Peng was pardoned in 1965 but put under house arrest. In 1966, Peng's case was then discussed by National Security Council and transferred from Taiwan Garrison Command to Bureau of Investigation. Until his escape in January, 1970, Peng was under the regular visits from local policemen and constant surveillance from agents of Bureau of Investigation.Taiwan Garrison Command under the the Ministry of National Defense is way too wide, including every aspect like politics, society, economics, culture, and even education, not just confined to the Taiwan police system. Later, it was disbanded and broken into two different units, which have evolved to the current Coast Guard Administration under the Executive Yuan and Reserve Command of the the Ministry of National Defense.
However, the influence of this former General Department of Political Warfare was not just confined within Taiwan military. Many commissioned officers from the branch of Political Warfare were directly transferred to the police system. One of them, Chen Bi (陳壁), even were promoted to the Police Commissioner of The Taiwan Provincial Police Administration.
In Taiwan, before May 26th, 1995, military training lessons were mandatory to all students of senior high schools, colleges and universities. As a result, there were and still are many military instructors stationed at every school more advanced than senior high schools. Naturally these military instructors are also commissioned officers in active duty either dispatched from or trained by the branch of Political Warfare. Before 1995, one of their missions at school is to closely watch, report, or even suppress any possible anti-government or political activity launched by students on or off campus.Bureau of Investigation was originated from the other controversial ROC security unit so-called "Zhong-Tong" or literally "Central Statistics" (中統) subordinated to Central Executive Committee of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) before 1949. National Security Bureau of the ROC National Security Council was established at the suggestion of Chiang Ching-kuo in 1956. This bureau was to served as the primary intelligence unit in Taiwan and headed by Cheng Jie-Min (鄭介民), a heavy-weight three-star army general from Military-Statistics. The purpose of creating such a new intelligence agency was to settle the inter-agency rivalry among the intelligence community in Taiwan and allow more direct access for Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo.
The Taiwan Provincial Police Administration was again separated from the NPA in 1995 with the implementation of local autonomy statutes in the ROC Constitution. Fire-fighting units also ceased to be part of the NPA from that year and were reorganized into a separate fire department. National Fire Agency(內政部消防署) of Ministry of Interior was established on 1 March 1995 to be responsible for fire prevention, disaster rescue and emergency medical service.
In 1999, with the downsizing of the provincial level of government, the Taiwan Provincial Police Administration was dissolved and its personnel and responsibilities were once again transferred to the National Police Agency.
An increase in crime and liberalization of the mass media in the 1990s led to many questions concerning the effectiveness of the police force in investigating and fighting crime, as opposed to its prior concentration on crowd and riot control, a carryover from the martial law era.
On 22 July 2000, four workers carrying out riverbed construction work in Pachang Creek(八掌溪), Chiayi County, were surrounded by the quickly rising torrent on Saturday afternoon. The four stood in the center of the river for three hours, waiting for a helicopter that never came, and were finally washed away at around 7:08pm in sight of family members, helpless would-be rescuers, and the lens of news cameras on the riverbank. The delay was attributed to bureaucratic red tape and three top government officials resigned, including Yu Shyi-kun, the vice Premier of Executive Yuan and two Director-Generals from National Police Agency and National Fire Agency. This Pachang-Creek incident(八掌溪事件) caused a field day for the news media in Taiwan and triggered a reform of the airborne emergency management system. On 10 March 2004, the newly formed National Airborne Service Corps (NASC) of the Ministry of Interior absorbed four civil airborne squadrons
On 26 July 2004, members of the Criminal Investigation Bureau engaged in what was arguably the largest gun battle in the history of modern Taiwan with members of a kidnapping gang in Kaohsiung County. Though they held a numerical advantage, the officers found themselves outgunned by the suspects who possessed bullet proof vests and M16's. In the ensuing gunfight four police officers were injured, and two suspects were shot and arrested. However the ringleader of the gang managed to escape along with a cohort after holding a passing civilian hostage and escaping in a hijacked car on live TV. The ensuing manhunt was widely covered, the ringleader Zhang Xi-Ming(張錫銘) was finally arrested following another gun battle with police on 13 July, 2005.
On 28 Feb 2006, Hou Yu-ih(侯友宜), the Criminal Investigation Bureau Commissioner, assumed command as the director-general of the National Police Agency. He, a career criminal investigator, is the youngest-ever to hold that post. Wang Cho-Chiun(王卓鈞), Chief of Taipei City Police Department, was named as the new director-general effective June 2008.
On 2 Jan 2007, according to "the Organic Law of the National Immigration Agency" enacted on 30 Nov 2005, the NPA's former Imigration Office was expanded to become the National Immigration Agency(內政部入出國及移民署) under the direct control of the Ministry of the Interior, and Wu Cheng-chi(吳振吉) was named the first director general of NIA.
With the exception of traffic police in some local departments, all police officers carry small firearms and batons. A criticism that has emerged in recent years is that police officers generally do not carry any nonlethal weapons aside from batons such as tasers or pepper spray, limiting their options when dealing with violent criminals. Police in Taiwan have sometimes been known to fire warning shots or at the legs of fleeing suspects, though this practice has reportedly decreased in recent years.
Most police officers patrol in marked police cars or small motorscooters. Motorcycles are typically used only by the traffic police. Police officers patrol with the light bars on their cars turned on. Like many other nations in the Asia Pacific region, the emergency number for police in Taiwan is 1-1-0.
There would be 16 police officers, including a station chief and a sergeant, in a local police station.
Usually, a counter is placed in the 24-hour-opened main entrance and a pistol-armed police officer would sit there as the station duty officer, or watch commander, on a 2-or-4-hour watch. The watch commander is the main funnel between that station and civilians within its responsibility area. He or she is in charge of the safety of the station, including the security of fire arms and ammunition. The station duty officer must answer all personal or telephone complains from civilians, delegate those reports to proper desk police officers, dispatch police officers on patrol to response, or provide legal advices to common citizens. Also, the station duty officer would reply to all information requisitions on suspicious personnels or vehicles over radio communication.
In remote areas or due to man-power shortage, some local stations are allowed by regulation to close the main gate between 2200 and 0600 but one police officer must remain inside.
In 2006, police selection criteria were amended to include all persons with a high school diploma between ages 18 - 28 able to pass a police civil service exam and undergo one year of training. This removed the past requirement where only graduates of specialized police colleges and universities were allowed to become police officers.
Conscripts may also choose to fulfil their mandatory twenty month national service requirement in the Police Department following basic training. Conscripts are typically deployed to assist local officers in positions such as traffic control, riot control, secretarial work, and basic patrol. Conscripts serving in the police force are generally not issued firearms.
Most police officers, since 1988, wear the standard uniform which consists of dark blue pants, the Combination cap with a gold band or a baseball cap, a jacket or an overcoat in winter, and a light Grey shirt. Dark-blue or yellow windbreakers attached white reflective strips are sometimes also issued, with white letters "POLICE" and "警察" on the back. All uniform buttons or decorations are golden yellow. A golden rank insignia is worn over the right breast pocket of the shirt. Two patches are worn, one on each shoulder: one with the golden NPA insignia, department name, and serial number. The second patch may be optional and is specific to the squad or unit the officer belongs to.
Court bailiffs, volunteer police officers, and civil defense personnel wear the same uniforms with small variations. The cap insignia worn by volunteer police officers is silver white rather than gold, as are the decorations and the shoulder patches. Instead of the golden rank insignia over the right breast pocket, volunteer policemen wear name tags.
Volunteer traffic police personnel wear similar uniforms with same style but with a high visibility orange shirt, and usually bear no rank.
Conscripts serving alternative national service with the police wear khaki uniforms instead of the standard police blue.
MJIB are equipped with a strong laboatory-testing capacity regarding controlled substances. This gives a necessary advantage and training for the investigators of MJIB. However, the police forces in Taiwan still maintain several active drug enforcement squads at the local police departments and the Criminal Investigation Bureau of NPA.
Historically, counter-intelligence affairs are under the turf of MJIB. Different from "special branch" in the police system in United Kingdom, the security divisions at all levels of Taiwan police system are mainly staff units, not fielded police details. Under the supervision of National Security Bureau, all non-mililary cases of espionage would soon be moved to the Bureau of Investigation.
A few years ago, high-ranking police officials tried to develop the strength of investigating white-collar crimes in Taiwan police system but gained unnoticed progress. MJIB is still in the lead position of cracking economic crimes or money-laundry. However, the Criminal Investigation Bureau of NPA has built fair reputation on copyright protection and the safety of computers and networks. Also, regarding the copyright issue, the 1st brigade of the 2nd special police corps is especially tasked for the enforcement related to intellectual property.military police are military deserters or traffic accidents involving military vehicles or personnel.
The latter one is a very interesting situation that Taiwan civilians tend to shake down the related military units when such kind of accidents occur. For some paranoid thinking, people in Taiwan military presume that the local policemen would side with civilians. As an unofficial rule in all Taiwan armed forces, all military drivers, and commissioned or non-commissioned officers are frequently instructed to call in the military police when they find themselves are in the middle of such a vehicular incident.
Contrary to common belief, the Military Police in Taiwan can actively go after civilian criminals, although usually they choose not to muddle the gray area after the lifting of martial law on July 15, 1987. By "Law of the dispatching of Judicial Police Personnel," the military police can deal with civilian affairs under the supervision of the public prosecutor(s) from all Court Prosecutors' Offices at all levels under the Ministry of Justice. Once so often, some public prosecutor(s) would direct the military police to handle large-scale searches or arrests with cases of police-related crimes, prostitution, or fugitive recovery.
These three are tasked to handle combat situations involving international terrorists, mercenary or para-military criminals. Bound by laws, currently only the Military Police Special Service Company can react to non-military cases.
Historically, the maritime patrol of Coast Guard Administration could be traced back to one of its several origins, the former 7th Special Police Corps. As a matter of fact, the former 7th Special Police Corps was expanded from the late and unique River Patrol squadron of Taipei County Police Department. Ironically, the land branches of Coast Guard Administration are rooted from the late controversial Taiwan Garrison Command. However, the formations of land patrol forces were inherited from Taiwan Army.
Based on these interesting and complicated roots of heritage, Coast Guard Administration does not always go along well with Taiwan Police, especially when the land jurisdiction problems presents.
Smuggling and Arms-trafficking has been a long existing issue in Taiwan. Human-trafficking and its counter part, prostitution, are increasingly hot problems in Taiwan.
Naturally, the maritime patrol of Coast Guard Administration are tasked to stop those crimes at sea and the coastal patrol of Coast Guard Administration are detailed to intercept such criminal cases along the coast line of Taiwan. The in-land territory of Taiwan should be the responsibility of individual local police departments or national law enforcement units from NPA or MJIB.
However, cases like smuggling and human-trafficking may cause turf wars between law enforcements. For example, when a brothel was raid by plain-cloth peace officers, the pimp usually would quietly go to the local police station and gather possible information of his girls in detention but sometimes the pimp would later find that his girls were held up by the local coastal patrol units.
It is worth to point out that Yao Kao-Chiao was the Directors-General of Central Police University from May 1995 to June 1996, of National Police Agency from June 1996 to 1997, and of Coast Guard Administration from 2000-01-28 to 2000-05-21.
Also, in Taiwan, another contradiction was the radio call signs for the fire trucks or rescue vehicles. For reasons to avoid unwanted attentions and to remain secrecy, all radio call signs for all police vehicles were uncorrelated with the missions of the subject vehicles, unnecessarily including fire trucks, rescue vehicles, and ambulances of fire brigades. When fire police teams were responding to an emergency situation, these confusing call signs inevitably led to chaos and time delay. A successful fire chief, Chao Kang (趙鋼), convinced the police high command to rearrange the radio call sign assignment for all fire vehicles. Chao Kang then was appointed as the Commissioner of Taiwan Provincial Fire Administration, and the Director-General of National Fire Agency from 2000-08-10 to September 2002.
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