Steve Vickers, a former head of the colonial police’s Criminal Intelligence Bureau, left the force in 1993 ahead of the handover and has since set up a risk consultancy business.
He said expat officers remaining after the handover were useful because “continuity and confidence was maintained”.
“To that end, their presence was valuable, and indeed desirable,” he told AFP.
But he added that Hong Kong’s police force has since changed considerably, especially as Beijing asserts more authority over the city’s leaders.
“As the years have gone by, and China’s rise has been much more pronounced, the Hong Kong government became politicised in the years following the handover,” he said.
“This politicisation also affects the police.”