Fellow Koreans, our police officers,
Today, 169 young police officers who will take responsibility for a safe Republic of Korea are to be newly commissioned.
Talented people with a variety of backgrounds, including university students, police cadets, lawyers and certified public accountants, have joined together as one with the common commitment of becoming compassionate and reliable police officers who stand with the people.
Even amidst grueling training courses, you reached out to the public as volunteers, and during your on-the-job training period, you partnered with senior police officers and arrested felons together, demonstrating your refined character and high caliber as prospective police officers. Every single young police officer who successfully completed a demanding training program truly makes me feel reassured.
My congratulations go to you all. I commend Korean National Police University President Lee Eun-jung and the faculty for their hard work nurturing future leaders who will become the mainstay of the Republic of Korea’s police force. I also extend my congratulations and gratitude to your relatives for providing support.
Newly commissioned young police officers,
As the people go through hardships stemming from the COVID-19 outbreak, they feel grateful once again to the police for protecting democracy, human rights and their lives.
The Korean National Police Agency provided the Police Human Resources Development Institute as a quarantine facility to house Koreans returning from Wuhan – an exemplary case of the efforts to overcome this infectious disease created together with the citizens of Asan.
The people have been able to reliably dial 112 to discuss, bring attention to and identify the whereabouts of those who should be tested. The police force has set up rapid response teams to help the quarantine efforts.
Police officers across the country joined in blood drive relays. A police consul at a Korean consulate general extended his tour of duty and stayed behind to protect Korean expatriates there. Seasoned officers near retirement volunteered for the mission of transporting returning expatriates to their quarantine facilities. Our police force has also played a great part in helping to ease public fears in these difficult times by investigating and cracking down on face mask scams and hoarding attempts – all while vigilantly maintaining public security. They have reciprocated the trust of the people by meticulously fulfilling their inherent duty of protecting the vulnerable and defending livelihoods.
Watching the service and dedication of police officers shine ever brighter when the people are in need, I feel that the spirit of patriotism and caring for the people’s welfare that was exhibited by the Provisional Republic of Korea Government’s first police commissioner Kim Gu 100 years ago continues to live on. I ask you to never lower your guard until we completely prevail over the COVID-19 outbreak.
Last year, the level of safety sensed by our people set a record high. In addition to the improvements concerning public protection against crime, deaths from traffic accidents fell 11.3 percent from 2018 while those from drunk driving were down 29 percent. In particular, I’d like to speak highly of the 18 percent reduction in child deaths from traffic accidents.
I also feel proud of the K-COP wave, which is surging like K-POP. Public safety is what foreign travelers choose first when ranking what satisfies them most about Korea. Our public safety system has been adopted by 110 countries, and locally made public safety equipment that incorporates advanced technology garnered worldwide attention during the 1st Korea Police World Expo held in Songdo, Incheon, last year. Following a Korean being elected president of the international police agency Interpol for the first time, the Korean National Police University became the second in the world to be designated an “INTERPOL Global Academy.” The Republic of Korea’s police are also spearheading international cooperation in regard to cybercrime and child sexual abuse material.
Behind our police force’s growth into a global leader in the field stand our citizens, who have shown trust in and support for its innovation. I join all of our people to heartily applaud the remarkable feats achieved by our police officers.
To our 150,000 police officers,
Public trust is vital for the police. Police officers are the face of the nation as they have the closest contact with the people.
Even if you do good work 99 out of 100 times, the people would like to see you do well on the one remaining. This is because the nation’s responsibility for the safety of its people is limitless.
Meanwhile, our people have never forgotten the police force’s dedication. The people are supporting your efforts to improve the investigation system and be reborn as a police force that upholds human rights.
The multilayered control systems put in place during the investigative process are actual achievements from police-driven reforms: the onsite human rights counseling center that immediately resolves civil complaints alleging human rights abuses, warrant examiners who prevent abuse from coercive investigations, the expansion of attorney participation to guarantee a suspect’s right to defense, the videotaping of investigations and recording of statements, and suspects being provided materials to take notes to aid their defense.
The police have pledged to make this year the starting point for responsible investigations by building on the accomplishments to date. Establishing responsible investigations and democratic control simultaneously is not an easy challenge, but I believe that the police will succeed without fail.
Police reforms can become more solid when backed by laws and systems. The bill for municipal police systems and the integrated police act for the decentralization of authority over public security are still pending in the National Assembly. The Government will continue these efforts until the end so that the people can experience – as soon as possible – a public security service that is more democratic and approachable.
The police have endured strenuous and difficult tasks with pride. The Government will increase investment and provide support for compensation and welfare so that the police can carry out duties with pride. By 2022, the number of personnel will be increased by 20,000, and a legal and institutional support system will be established. The unreasonable rank system will be improved, and efforts will be made to put a pay system in place that is commensurate with heavy roles and responsibilities. The Government will do all it can to protect the life and safety of police officers themselves so that they can remain the friends of the people and the heroes of our neighborhoods until the day they retire.
Fellow Koreans and police officers,
More and more wrinkles will grow on the young faces of the police officers commissioned today in tandem with their service to public safety, but their faces will shine with a sense of reward and glory and their legs will grow even stronger. They will write a new chapter in the history of “police for the people” with mettle, passion and infinite confidence.
Public expectations are as high as the insignia attached on your shoulders today. The people will always support and guard all of you who walk the path toward an honorable police force. I hope that you will march unwaveringly closer to the side of the people and into your worksites. I congratulate you once again on your graduation and commissioning and wish the best for your future.