New Law to Strengthen Police Officers' Powers in Emergencies | Be Korea-savvy

New Law to Strengthen Police Officers’ Powers in Emergencies

This undated file photo provided by police shows a 112 emergency call center. (Image courtesy of Yonhap)

This undated file photo provided by police shows a 112 emergency call center. (Image courtesy of Yonhap)

SEOUL, Dec. 13 (Korea Bizwire)Police officers will be granted greater authority during disasters reported to the police’s 112 emergency call center, the Korean National Police Agency (KNPA) said Wednesday, as the legal basis for the hotline service has been established by parliamentary legislation.

According to the KNPA, the National Assembly passed the law on the operation of the 112 emergency call service in a plenary session last Friday, providing the legal grounds for the service for the first time since its inception in 1957.

In South Korea, people can call the police for help by dialing 112 or the fire department at 119 in emergencies. For the past 66 years, the 112 call service has been operated under an internal KNPA rule, restraining officers’ capabilities to systematically respond to and deal with emergencies and protect victims.

Under the new law set to take effect in June next year, for instance, police officers dispatched through 112 emergency calls are empowered to enter someone else’s building and a fine will be imposed if such a move is deterred. Officers can also have the authority to order citizens to evacuate in case of emergencies reported to the police call center.

In 2021, police officers who responded to a 112 report of domestic violence withdrew without entering the house because the door was locked and an hour later the victim was found unconscious inside.

A KNPA official said the new law is greatly meaningful, as it will help police officers enforce law and order more confidently in the process of handling 112 emergency calls.


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