Phnom Penh Municipal Police chief Sar Thet has asked for Vietnamese assistance in training a new 60-strong elite “special intervention” unit tasked with protecting senior leadership, foreign delegations and the public.
The request was made on Tuesday as Thet, who is also deputy National Police chief, met with a Vietnamese delegation at Phnom Penh Municipal Police headquarters.
Thet said he had planned the formation of the new elite squad since his promotion to head of the capital’s police force almost a year ago, and personnel had been picked and equipment procured.
Thet told The Post on Wednesday that Phnom Penh is to host a number of major meetings and the special intervention unit would protect senior leadership and Phnom Penh’s residents, as well as maintain security.
“At major national and international meetings, we can prove that our country has first-rate security forces along with the Royal Gendarmerie and other units. We had a police special forces team but this was disbanded due to a lack of the required level of skill."
“The new elite unit is being prepared and we are looking to have them fully trained,” Thet said.
The Vietnamese on Tuesday said his request would be forwarded to senior leadership for approval.
“Human resources for the special intervention unit have already been chosen and equipment procured. There now remains only a lack of training to resolve,” Thet told the delegation.
Kin Phea, the director-general of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the special intervention unit should be a team of special forces trained for specific circumstances, such as protecting senior leadership or dealing with situations affecting national security.
“Other countries also have such forces to maintain order. It is good when these units are formed with the clear purpose of upholding security and order and serving the nation. When they threaten people, then it is problematic."
“When problems have arisen in the past, the units concerned tended to not perform their duties as expected. The problems came when they behaved contrary to the principles or acted out of other interests,” he said.