A new force takes to the streets

Chen Huizhi
The first batch of 3,605 police assistants wearing a new uniform have started work in Shanghai to help police in their duties. 
Chen Huizhi
A new force takes to the streets
Zhang Long

A group of traffic police assistants assemble as they prepare to start their new jobs on Monday morning.

A new force takes to the streets
Zhang Long

A traffic police assistant on duty at the intersection of Yan'an Road E. and Henan Road M.

Shanghai police have several different types of assistants, but from today they will gradually come under one name and wear the same uniform. 

The first 3,605 wearing the new uniform have begun their duties. 

Most assistants work with traffic police, but some work with patrol officers and crime investigators. 

The new uniform has characters denoting “Police Assistant” on the front and back of a yellow vest and an armband. Also on the armband is the pinyin “fu jing” which means the same, but there is no English on the uniform.

Shi Min, vice head of the city public security bureau’s police assistants department, said the uniform will probably be subject to change as the Ministry of Public Security would be introducing a new uniform for police assistants nationwide at some time in the future. 

Shi said the current police assistants who wear different uniforms will be given different assignments to be distinguished from the new entries. Over the next two years they will gradually be replaced.

Police assistants aren’t armed but are equipped with a video recorder, a traffic baton and a torch.

Traffic police assistants are responsible for assisting police in managing traffic, correcting traffic offenses and collecting evidence.

Assistants for police from other departments are responsible for helping handle suspects, protecting crime scenes, helping injured people and capturing suspects, among other tasks.

Police said establishing a force of assistants was important in coping with a constant shortage of police officers and making society safer.

Before they go on duty, assistants are trained in laws and regulations related to their work, discipline, communication skills and physical preparedness.

The new force of assistants is younger and better educated. The average age of the first batch is 29, and all have college or university degrees. Previously, police assistants were hired at district level with different standards in place.

Some 470 of the new assistants are women. 

Zhu Chenyi, who previously worked in a notary office, is now a traffic police assistant working at the intersection of Yan’an Road E. and Henan Road M.

“I always wanted to have a more ‘manly’ job, and my dream is now fulfilled,” he said.

Zhu said the job is challenging because he has to communicate with all kinds of people every day.

“I hope people will understand our job, and it seems that most of them do,” he said.

Wang Bei, 33, works at the intersection of Nanjing Road E. and Henan Road M. Previously she worked at a subdistrict level workers’ union.

“I love the city of Shanghai in which I was born, and from a very young age I wanted to work in a uniform with a cap with a national emblem to serve,” she said.

Wang said she now does physical training every day after work to stay fit for a job which is much more physically challenging than her previous one.

The assistants work in two shifts, from 7am to 3pm and 3pm to 10pm. 

Over the next two years, police intend to recruit another 4,282.

Under a new system of management and evaluation, assistants will be eligible for promotion and employment as police officers.

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