The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD)'s anti-smoking work on the first day (September 1) of the implementation of the fixed penalty system for smoking offences was generally smooth. About 800 verbal warnings were issued at LCSD venues that day and smokers were co-operative upon receiving advice from staff. The department stressed that fixed penalty notices would be issued to uncooperative offenders as a deterrent.
"The department understands the staff's concern and will continue to explain the enforcement procedures to them. We will maintain communication with the staff to address their questions and concerns about enforcement work," the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mrs Betty Fung said today (September 2).
"The department will continue to listen to the staff about the difficulties they may encounter after the implementation of the new ordinance. In the light of experience gained, the department will provide advanced and suitable training to the staff and revise the departmental guidelines where necessary so as to facilitate their discharge of duties more effectively," she said.
Mrs Fung called on the staff to be supportive and to actively participate in the training and anti-smoking enforcement work.
She added that the department has been communicating with the staff and staff unions concerned. At the time when the departmental enforcement guidelines were formulated, the department had sent drafts to the staff and actively collected their opinions.
To facilitate staff in carrying out enforcement duties effectively, a series of training courses on enforcement work were organised for staff and officers from the Tobacco Control Office were also invited to share their experience.
Mrs Fung said that the department understood the staff's concern about their personal safety when carrying out enforcement action. To address their concern, the departmental enforcement guidelines state clearly that personal safety should be the prime concern when enforcing the law in LCSD venues. At least two officers should work together when performing enforcement duties and Police assistance should be sought if necessary. Methods for handling uncooperative offenders are also included in the training courses.
Ends/Wednesday, September 2, 2009