Minister of Interior Sar Kheng has issued instructions to the newly formed National Police reform commission to train officers in professionalism, integrity and other pertinent skills as he pushes to further reduce crime with the construction of more police stations.
At a ceremony to hand over new vehicles to municipal and provincial police on February 16, Sar Kheng said the current reforms are intended to affect social justice.
“We have been reforming, and there is no end to the process. The scope of reforms includes addressing the ranks of officials, the structure of the organisation and training for officers, including on the subject of ethics,” he said.
Sar Kheng also reiterated a call for police officials to avoid serious misconduct, citing the example of Kamrieng district police chief Kim Ponlork in Battambang province who has been stripped of his rank and expelled from the National Police in connection with the release of a broker who allegedly smuggled workers into Thailand.
“The police chief violated his professional duties, ignoring hierarchy and reporting procedures to make a wrongful decision by himself. This is a learning experience for all police, and an ethical dilemma on which everyone may reflect,” he said.
Sar Kheng emphasised that recruits joining the police force must be qualified and disciplined in accordance with the department’s reformed policies. For example, police must keep their hair short and not let their bellies grow.
In particular, an officer 1.65m in height should maintain a weight below 70kg in accordance with departmental regulations or face a penalty on evaluations which could lead to withholding promotions.
“Police officials must have discipline, not like normal people. We are police, which is different from being civilians, as we have guns while civilians do not. We are authorised to handle guns for carrying out operations to crack down on crime,” he said.
Sar Kheng also instructed provincial police chiefs to devote more resources towards enhancement of police facilities, including the construction of more stations and local administrative posts to more effectively stop crime and control security and public order in their jurisdictions.
“If the police force is strong, the country will be secure. If not, then the whole country will be vulnerable. Therefore, we need to think about how to equip police chiefs and stations with the materials, training, methods, incentives and penalties that will make the effective,” he said.
On the topic of the ceremony, Sar Kheng called on the municipal and provincial police chiefs receiving new vehicles to use them for the purpose of fulfilling their duties. They are meant to serve the public rather than personal interest and must not be used for illicit purposes like transporting goods to avoid taxes.
Kandal provincial police chief Chhoeun Sochet said the new cars would be used in a targeted and effective manner for the public interest. He said Sar Kheng delivered four cars to the Kandal provincial police which will be used in the four districts of Ang Snuol, Mok Kampoul, Sa’ang and Lvea Em.
“We will use these cars to protect and serve public security as actual needs arise. They will be used in each of the four districts,” he said.
Sochet added that he would seek to improve the efficiency of police officials serving the public in accordance with the seven points of the government’s recently revised safe village-commune-district policy.
Sar Kheng urged sub-national administrations to work directly with the public to provide better services and make services easier for people in each locality to access.
“The safe village-commune-district policy is meant to provide good public services – services which are necessary, such as all people having ID cards so that they can register for elections or school admissions, receive a passport or form associations like NGOs,” he said.