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The National Police Agency ordered prefectural police forces throughout the country Friday to drastically streamline operations by cutting management personnel and outsourcing work, NPA officials said.

The streamlined staff should be deployed mainly for duties at police posts, particularly patrolling and meeting residents who come for consultations, the agency said.

A thorough streamlining is also a condition to embody the NPA’s request to the Finance Ministry for funds to allow increasing the number of police officers by 2,775 in fiscal 2001, it said.

The NPA said it hopes to increase the number of police officers by more than 10,000 in the years ahead. Japan has some 260,000 police personnel at present.

The increase has been requested based on recommendations in July by the Council on the Reform of Police Systems, a government panel, that more police officers would be needed to meet people’s demands and deal with various crimes.

The NPA ordered the prefectural forces to submit their streamlining plans by the end of September so the plans will be introduced in the next fiscal year.

The government panel submitted the recommendations for reform in an effort to restore people’s trust in police following a series of scandals involving several officers.

The scandals include one in Niigata Prefecture involving police mishandling of a kidnapping case in which a woman was rescued after more than nine years of confinement, and another in Saitama Prefecture in which a university student was murdered after police ignored her complaints about being harassed by a stalker.

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