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Hiring IT specialists 'cheaper' for police

Police should hire private sector computer experts to aid investigations rather than training their own specialists, outgoing Commissioner of Police Eddie Hui Ki-on said on Wednesday.

Police should hire private sector computer experts to aid investigations rather than training their own specialists, outgoing Commissioner of Police Eddie Hui Ki-on said on Wednesday.

CHINA (SCMP.com) - The force's Commercial Crime Bureau has a computer forensics team, and a recent surge in computer crimes has strained the team's manpower.

Hui said contracting experts would be more cost-effective.

"The force's future management should think about involving more outside IT professionals in the analysis of cases. This could help avoid a brain drain of house-trained specialists," he said, referring to fears that experts trained by police could be head-hunted by private firms.

The proposal received a mixed reaction. Democratic Party legislator Sin Chung-kai, who represents the IT sector, said hiring outside experts could save time and resources as computer crimes were increasingly complicated.

However, fellow party legislator and security panel deputy chairman James To Kun-sun was more cautious. "At the end of the day, there must be a permanent team of IT experts in the force for instant operations," To said.

He also warned of the possibility that the "chain of evidence" might be broken because there were no previous cases of evidence gathering being contracted out.

"If part of the evidence collection is contracted out, there is a chance the integrity of the prosecution would be challenged. This is also something which requires deep thought."

Hui, 57, starts leave on Tuesday before retiring. He will be succeeded by Deputy Commissioner Tsang Yam-pui, the brother of Financial Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen.