According to the Institute of Criminology website, it has cooperated with HKPC for this course since 2017Cambridge Institute of Criminology

Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology has no immediate plans to end its partnership with the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) in its MSt in Applied Criminology and Police Management, despite ongoing accusations of human rights violation on the HKPF.

Speaking to Varsity, Programme Chair Professor Lawrence Sherman and Director Dr Heather Strange said course coordinators are “acutely aware of the political situation in Hong Kong and the Institute of Criminology and University are keeping the situation under constant review”.

But they said “the programme takes an academic and evidence-based based approach” to policing and “does not offer practical training,” - and confirmed 14 students enrolled for the next intake this year will come from the HKPF, out of a total of around 150.

The HKPF have come under fire in the past few months for the increasingly forceful treatment of anti-government protesters, with 2 deaths so far.

Dr Strang and Professor Sherman added “during 2020, officers from Hong Kong undertaking research for their Master’s theses have been encouraged to focus on topics which touch directly on the concerns currently faced by their peers.”

The part-time course runs over 2 years with 6 weeks of teaching time - 3 weeks in Cambridge and 3 abroad - and has a yearly intake of 30.


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According to the Institute of Criminology website, it has cooperated with HKPC for this course since 2017, and “is designed to provide training for senior police officers in the study of crime and harm-reduction issues.”

The first cohort of Hong Kong senior police officers graduated from the Cambridge Institute of Criminology’s on December 3rd, with a view to develop “future leaders in the Force”.

Commissioner Tang Ping-keung, Head of the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF), attended the graduation ceremony alongside academic staff from the University and other notable figures from the HKPF.

Following calls for independent inquiries into increasing concerns of human rights violations by the Hong Kong Police force, the Institute of Criminology’s partnership has also drawn media attention from Hong Kong news outlets.

Twitter users in Hong Kong and abroad criticised the initiative, with one branding it “a degree in human rights abuses”, and another asking “does this mean a Cambridge degree is totally devalued?”

The Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, Man Kei Tam, has repeatedly called for “an independent and effective investigation into the police use of force” after a shooting of a teenager during demonstrations in November, and after 287 protestors were arrested by police on New Year’s Day.

Commenting on this month’s arrests, he noted protestors - numbering in their tens of thousands - were given 30 minutes to disperse before tear gas and water cannons were fired.

He continued, “This in effect prevented people from exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. The police should facilitate peaceful protest, not restrict or disrupt it.”

Protests in Hong Kong began in June in opposition to the proposed Extradition Bill, which would allow extraditions to mainland China, but has morphed into a broader movement demanding full democracy for the special administrative region.