Move for better law enforcement

Updated: 2015-01-23 07:41

(China Daily)

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At long last, the performance assessment mechanisms for law enforcement agencies are to be adjusted. The mal-designed assessment requirements, the misleading quotas that have been adopted in particular, are an obvious source of injustice and corruption.

Abolishing such performance evaluation indexes for the judicial authorities as the number of criminal detentions and the number of requests for arrests approved, as well as the number of registered cases that led to criminal indictment and guilty rulings, and of cases resolved is no doubt conducive to reducing injustice and rent-seeking.

Under the pressure of compulsory quotas, law enforcement departments have an abnormal thirst for "breakthroughs" in dealing with criminal cases.

Each of the recently corrected court verdicts, each of which had resulted in the execution of an innocent citizen, is a bloody footnote to such sanguinary thirst. To raise "efficiency", the police resorted to unusual means such as torture to yield confessions, and the courts accepted porous evidence in reaching their "guilty" verdicts.

Removing the quotas will surely reduce the pressure on police officers and justice officials to rush to unsound conclusions, and thus contribute to fairer judgments.

However, performance evaluations are not the only cause of the law enforcement officers' inability to deliver justice. Moral degeneration of the law enforcement staff, administrative interference in judicial proceedings, and poor professional qualifications are equally outstanding reasons for miscarriages of justice.

The latest central conference on law enforcement sounded resolute about making changes. And it seems that the central leadership is keenly aware of, and concerned about the state of affairs. This is a fine starting point.

But like the campaign against corruption, reining in law enforcement officers' disregard for the law will be difficult, as many of those entrusted to implement the law are accustomed to mistaking themselves for legitimate interpreters of the law.

It would be wonderful if our law enforcement personnel could demonstrate self-discipline and display a clear sense of the boundaries of their own authority. But their moral qualities should be put under systematic guarantees.