Police bureau officially comes into being

SEOUL-- A police bureau came officially into being at the interior ministry Tuesday, marking the first time in 31 years for the ministry to have an organization overseeing the law enforcement agency.

The bureau's establishment came after some front-line police officers protested strongly against the envisioned organization that they claim would put police under political influence and compromise their political neutrality.

The government has stressed that the bureau is necessary to keep massive police power in check at a time when police are set to take on more investigative roles from the prosecution under newly legislated law aimed at reducing prosecutorial powers.

The 16-person bureau, led by Senior Superintendent General Kim Soon-ho, is charged with drawing up key policies and regulations related to police, recommending candidates for senior police positions and taking other support measures for police.

"I am deeply moved that the police bureau was launched for the first time after overcoming difficulties," Minister Lee told reporters on Tuesday, pledging to provide maximum support to help the police be reborn as a beloved law enforcement agency.

Police had been under the interior ministry until 1991, when the National Police Agency was spun off as an outside organization of the ministry as part of efforts to ensure its independence and neutrality.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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