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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Police admit trouble at top

Lieutenant General Kirt Chantharith addresses the media
Lieutenant General Kirt Chantharith addresses the media yesterday at the General Commissariat of National Police in Phnom Penh. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Police admit trouble at top

In a rare admission, the National Police yesterday said it had failed to achieve a significant portion of its “strategic plan” for the past five years, which a senior police official blamed on poor communication and ineffectual high-level bureaucrats.

National Police spokesman Kirt Chantharith yesterday told reporters that only about three-fifths of the force’s stated aims had been reached, although he refrained from divulging specific details of the police’s shortcomings.

“The first reason for this is that there is a limited understanding among the lower units, which are not clear on our policy, and this reflects in their performance,” he said.

“The second reason is that the elite units are not involved in the work. All they do is sit and sign pieces of paper, but they have no idea what they are signing,” he added. “Plans are just that, plans. And actions are actions. This [current situation] is no good.”

The five-year plan, that had failed to achieve 40 per cent of its goals, came to a close last year, and a new five-year plan will run until 2019.

“The result of the five-year plan for all units, from 2008 to 2013, was not as successful as planned,” he said.

The policy paper outlining the new plan covers wide-ranging subjects, such as national security, public order and police professionalism.

Chantharith seemed to indicate that there was a widespread lack of understanding within the National Police over the point and significance of the “strategic plan”.

“I call for all top units, especially the chiefs of central departments and commissioners to put forward ideas about what the strategic goals mean and the vision, then we can start from there,” he said.

Yi Samoeun, deputy head of planning with the National Police, said a lack of funding for policing was also to blame.

“The 10 strategic goals made in the first phase of the strategic plan were not good, because the actions police were supposed to take was not clear,” he said.

“There was also a budget shortfall to complete the work,” he added.

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