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Police force to provide ‘security’ during upcoming elections

A man places his vote in a ballot box in Kampong Cham during the 2013 national election.
A man places his vote in a ballot box in Kampong Cham during the 2013 national election. Heng Chivoan

Police force to provide ‘security’ during upcoming elections

National Police deputy chief Kirth Chantharith will head a team to handle security during upcoming elections, with the group to decide upon the placement of “national security agents” for voters’ protection, according to a statement.

Dated August 17, the missive, signed by National Police commissioner Neth Savoeun, assigns 29 people – from across several police departments under the Interior Ministry – to the permanent squad, which will coordinate security arrangements for the 2017 commune and 2018 national ballot.

The team – which also includes chief of the ministry’s general staff Chhay Kim Khoeun, head of its internal security department Dy Vichea and judicial police official In Bora – will report to a joint-committee headed by Interior Minister Sar Kheng and comprising several top military officials.

Tasked with enforcing the election law and other relevant legislation, it will begin its work monitoring the nationwide registration drive by the National Election Committee that starts next month.

The team will fund and equip a nationwide “security structure” to protect voters, which will also include “national security agents” protecting set locations, the document states.

Chantharith was not available yesterday to discuss exactly where officers would be located on election day.

Director of the police’s protection department Chim Saroeun said a meeting would be held on Thursday morning to further lay out plans for election security.Police spokesman Saran Kamsoth said several relevant committees would be in attendance ready to “receive orders” from Interior Minister Kheng.

In its report on the 2013 election, election watchdog Comfrel found that though less violent incidents were recorded compared to previous years, an “atmosphere of intimidation and threats” surrounded the ballot.

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