Census and Statistics Department responds to the personal safety of census officers in the Population Census
In response to the recent media reports on cases involving census officers in the Population Census, the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) today (July 25) gave the following response:
C&SD is concerned about the personal safety of the census officers all along. Before the commencement of the field operation of the Population Census, C&SD has laid down detailed safety regulations and guidelines and arranged relevant training. The Department has also reminded census officers to enhance their awareness of personal safety and advised them how they should act under adverse situations.
In the beginning stage of the 2011 Population Census, C&SD has arranged for census officers to visit and interview households in pairs in some designated areas, taking into considerations the characteristics and surrounding environment of the areas.
On the other hand, if census officers find it unsafe to visit the households by themselves, flexible arrangements would be made. With the consent of the respondents, census officers could arrange interviews to be conducted at the doors of the households instead of entering the premises. C&SD has further enhanced the guidelines, reminding all census officers that in case there is only one/several person(s) of the opposite sex, they should make alternative arrangements instead of entering the premises (such as conducting the interviews at the door, or conducting interviews jointly with another census officer).
To further ensure the personal safety of the census officers, starting from July 23, C&SD has arranged all census officers to visit and interview households in pairs, instead of applying paired visits to designated areas only. C&SD indicated that the new arrangements are in place to address the public's concern about the personal safety of census officers, while taking into consideration the satisfactory fieldwork progress so far. Even in the case of paired visits to households, if census officers find out that there is only one/several person(s) of the opposite sex in the premise, they should conduct the interview at the door, or arrange another group of census officers of appropriate sex. The latest arrangements will further safeguard the personal safety of census officers and will not affect the progress of the Population Census.
C&SD will continue to review and update the safety measures to ensure the personal safety of the census officers.
As at today, C&SD has received two reported cases of suspected indecent assault. C&SD has referred the cases to the Hong Kong Police Force.