On Monday, the Ministry of Public Security held a collective video training conference for millions of police nationwide. The training covered how they should behave while doing their duties, such as what to do when checking a citizen's ID card and what to do when people take videos of them enforcing the law. Beijing News comments:
The training has given a clear answer to some questions that used to be ambiguous. For example, can someone video police who are enforcing the law in the street?
The law previously said "Yes, you can", but with the prerequisite that it did not disturb the police. In practice, the police had an almost absolute say on whether or not they felt disturbed by bystanders videoing them and in many cities they have tended to stop anyone filming their actions.
In some cases the police may be right to avoid being videoed, but that practice has also stopped people from exercising their legal right to supervise the police.
One after another legal expert has supported people's right to make video records of the police, because that's an essential way to prevent the police from abusing their power.
Now the training defines clearly what the police should do. For example, when the traffic police enforce the rules of the road or police stop someone in the street, citizens are allowed to make video records at least 1.5 meters away from the police. In the future, we can expect people's rights to supervise the police power to be better protected.
Setting such a limit not only strengthens supervision over the police, but also helps to protect them, because they know what to do under certain conditions.
There are many more complicated situations that the police might encounter when enforcing the law. Motorcyclists that break the traffic law, conflicts between the medical staff and the patients－all these require the police to enforce the law. We hope more training sessions will be held in the future to better standardize police officers' law enforcement.