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2.01.2009

Hebei eliminates police quotas

The under-reporting of crimes by the police is a notorious problem, [see studies by Bakken, Biddulph, Dutton] caused by setting up unrealistic performance targets (kaohe zhibiao). The police is required to clear-up more or less 95% of all criminal cases put on file. If this target is not met, they can lose their bonuses, or incur in penalties.

To cope with the too high expectations placed on them, police officers then simply do not put on file part of the complaints they receive. Only cases which are cleared up are reported, and enter the crime statistics. In this way local police organs can claim to have solved 98% or even all of the criminal cases that took place, receive monetary bonuses and keep their jobs too.

The problem is well-known to provincial authorities. From time to time, surveys are launched, and the real situation comes to light. This time, a survey has taken place in Hebei province. Unsurprisingly, it has been found out that local police organs do not report 75-80% of the cases they receive.

As a response, Hebei political-legal commission has eliminated performance targets, and introduced a different supervision mechanism. Information about all criminal cases received by local police organs will be put online (not on a public network though). Under or over-reporting of cases will be considered a "one vote veto" (yipiao foujue) indicator. Which means that units which under- or over-report criminal cases will not pass the evaluation, and their leaders - as well as personnel who did not put cases on file - will be demoted.

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