While the spic n’ span condition of this building might make you think it is relatively new, the headquarters of the Tainan Police Bureau on Nanmen Road is actually an old heritage building dating from 1931.
Located just across the road from the Confucian Temple and the Prefecture Hall, this functioning police station is part of the historic areas of the city as well as the city’s civic history.
The Japanese are responsible for Taiwan’s modern police system. After martial law ended four years into the occupation, civil services took over the domestic affairs of the people of Taiwan. Policing on the island was inconsistent at first, but by the early 1920s the Taiwan Police Department had been established into one system that was divided into five prefectures island-wide. Each prefecture was responsible for establishing a headquarters and substations throughout its jurisdiction. A modern, professional police force was born into this system.
After WWII, the KMT arrived and put the country under a martial law that lasted several decades. Much of the way the Japanese organized the police force was kept, but the police officers under the KMT both looked and acted more like the military. They had a reputation for being both corrupt and strict, making sure no man’s hair was too long and no woman’s skirt was too short. These days, the corruption has been mostly weeded out and the strictness is nothing but an old memory. The major criticism of today’s police officers is that they are lax and ineffective.
As a foreigner, it is unlikely you’ll have any trouble with the police unless you really do something wrong. The police department has a foreign affairs department with English-speaking members whose purpose is to handle the needs and actions of foreigners staying in Taiwan. If you do have trouble, you will likely be referred to them. The emergency phone number for the police is 110; or you can call the general emergency line of 119.
The old Tainan Police Headquarters is in the midst of the tourists circuit and can be easily viewed from the outside. However, it’s unlikely you’ll get a tour unless you’re caught on the wrong side of the law.
Hours for Internal Divisions: 8:00AM ~ 5:30PM
Phone: (06) 2231101
Location: No.37, Nanmen Road (南門路), West Central District, Tainan City 700,Taiwan.