Govt to beef up police in rural areas
Source: | 2007-08-24 12:08:36

The government will continue strengthening police forces in rural areas to give a "sense of safety" to the people at the grassroots level.

The authorities are in the process of assessing security conditions in rural areas, said Wu Lidong, director of the social order administration of the Ministry of Public Security.

He made these comments during an online interview yesterday sponsored by the central government website.

The police assessment focuses on a series of crimes that has been reported by farmers.

The more common complaints involve the theft of cattle and farming equipment, people selling fake seeds and fertilizers, coerced labor, illegal possession of guns and explosive and underground deals involving pornography and drugs.

Stealing and destroying power-transmission cables, telecommunications equipment, television-broadcast facilities and oil reserves are all subject to severe punishments.

"Such activities hurt farmers and affect the farmers' production incentives," said Wu.

"We are ready to take on anyone who tries to monopolize production materials."

Last year, the number of cases involving arson in rural areas declined by 13.3 percent, murder cases by 14.8 percent and rape cases by 5.2 percent over the previous year.

There are more than 80,000 police stations and 90,000 police officers in the country's 3 million villages.

Having more boots on the ground is widely seen as the best way to root out crime.

The lack of police was the subject of much debate in the wake of the brick kiln slave labor scandal.

It was reported that there was only one policeman responsible for patrolling the area where dozens of underage slave laborers were working.

Zhou Yongkang, the public security minister, has called for more police forces at the grassroots level in order to better control the crimes that affect people's lives.

Statistics show there are 940,000 police working at the basic community level in China.

Grassroots-level police account for 85 per cent of the total police force in most counties.



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