Home Office targets staff benefit for police college graduates amid protest by frontline officers

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SEOUL, July 26 (Yonhap) — Interior Minister Lee Sang-min on Tuesday hinted at an overhaul of the police personnel system that favors National Police University graduates, amid negative reactions from front-line police officers regarding the planned establishment of a police bureau under the ministry.

“It is unfair to automatically start a career as a lieutenant, only on the basis of a degree from Korea National Police University,” Lee told reporters before giving a political briefing to President Yoon Suk-yeol at the presidential office.

A graduate of the four-year college receives the rank of lieutenant, which is equivalent to that of chief of police station or team leader in a police station. It takes at least 17 years of continuous service for a junior officer who has not graduated from school to achieve this rank.

The minister said such a policy is unfair because someone starting a career at the back cannot catch up.

Korea National Police University, established in 1981, is a special university for training elite officers. The university admits about 200 freshmen each year.

Lee’s remarks came after chief superintendents met to protest the proposed creation of a “police office”. The protest was led by senior police officers, mostly university graduates.

The plan was approved at a Cabinet meeting earlier today.

About 50 chief superintendents across the country held a meeting on Saturday to protest the plan, despite government warnings to refrain, with some 140 other participants online. The minister compared the collective action to a “coup d’etat”.

Police officers taking part in the action expressed concern that monitoring the office would undermine their political neutrality and accountability, while the Home Office argued it was necessary as police would have to take on more roles public prosecutor’s investigation.

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