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Top cop to officers: ‘behave’

Cambodian police officers need to step up their game, the Kingdom’s top cop told his department hierarchy this week.

Speaking at a ceremony to promote two senior officers on Monday, National Police chief Neth Savoeun said staff who want to be promoted or rewarded needed to work harder and deliver a higher level of service to citizens at a local level.

“Police need to look into their own behaviour again,” he said. “You need to behave better, providing social safety for both local residents and tourists, especially to lessen the concerns of local residents related to crime including gambling, drug offences and traffic accidents.”

Savoeun’s comments came at an event marking the promotion of Mao Chan Makthurith to Kampot provincial police chief, and the shifting of former Kampot chief Tlang Phirin to the role of deputy director at the Department of Public Order.

Newly promoted Makthurith yesterday said that his boss made his remarks because he recognised the mistakes made by some police who were slow to respond to residents’ requests for help and in some cases became too personally involved in their work.

“We can see this problem happening everywhere,” he said. “The general [Savoeun] wanted to stress these points in order to encourage the police be friendly and happy to help residents.”

According to San Chey, coordinator of Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific, the improvement the police chief has called for is badly needed.

“[Cambodian] police do poor work and never listen to residents’ concerns,” he said. “It is essential to cut off bribery and nepotism, so that police work in the interests of the people.”

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