Comments on the story "Should volunteer 'thief catchers' be allowed to operate without police supervision?" published on No. 22, MAY 31, 2007
"Thief catching" is really a dangerous profession which needs bravery and certainly skills. If people catch thieves voluntarily and independently, their safety cannot be guaranteed, nor can the lawfulness of their action be supported. So, volunteer thief catchers should not be allowed to act alone. Police departments should organize and train citizen "thief catchers."
Volunteer "thief catchers" are a group of people who assist crime victims, but their existence is not acknowledged by police, which sometimes places the police in an embarrassing situation. The citizen "thief catchers" have not been given any legal authority by the public security organs. These volunteers are motivated simply by a desire to see justice applied and to create conditions for a safe society. However, if they are injured in the course of "catching thieves," they do not qualify for assistance from the government.
Moreover, because they have limited experience, these volunteers underestimate the possibility of injury. They have no basic knowledge on how to subdue criminals or how to use equipment to avoid unnecessary injury. Training should be provided to the brave volunteers so that they can avoid unnecessary injuries.
Recently, reports from Haikou, Hainan province, stated that the public security organs have organized the voluntary "thief catchers" into an auxiliary force in the government department. This indicates that the government is beginning to organize and guide these volunteer "thief catchers" and not let them act independently of the police.
May 30, 2007