Home Office to launch police bureau next month to directly oversee police

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SEOUL, July 15 (Yonhap) — A new office overseeing key personnel and policy decisions for the police will take office next month under the Interior Ministry, Minister Lee Sang-min said Friday, as his ministry seeks to tighten its grip on the law. executing agency.

The ‘police office’ will come into effect on August 2 following planned Cabinet authorization to review relevant implementing orders, the minister told a news conference, announcing a sweeping reform plan of the font.

The plan came as police are set to take on more investigative roles from the prosecution under new laws aimed at reducing and eventually abolishing the investigative powers of the prosecution, long accused of political interference and of abuse of power.

But critics say the move could put the police under political influence.

It is the first time in 31 years that the Home Office has had direct control over the police since the law enforcement agency became an organization outside the ministry in 1991 as part of efforts aimed at guaranteeing its independence and neutrality.

Lee said the new office will be responsible for submitting key police policy and legislative proposals to Cabinet for approval and recommending candidates for senior police positions.

A senior superintendent general, the third rank of police, will be in charge of heading the office which will be staffed with a total of 16 people, including 12 from the police, according to the minister.

The ministry will also propose a set of regulations giving the Home Secretary the right to approve or reject key police policy decisions and to have police reports on key issues, including the police budget. police.

Under the regulations, the Home Secretary will have the right to obtain advance reports on major proposals for adoption or other matters submitted by the police to Cabinet for approval, as well as travel plans for Foreign Affairs of the National Police Chief.

The Minister of the Interior will also be able to demand reports from the police on how they carry out the instructions of the President, Prime Minister and Minister.

As part of the reform plan, police numbers will also be increased in the second half of this year to better respond to economic and cyber crimes, while a new police system improvement committee made up of 13 members will be created within the prime minister’s office to follow up on the latest reform measures, Lee said.

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