National Police deputy chief Him Yan has ordered that increased measures be taken to combat low-level crimes such as snatching and theft in Phnom Penh in a bid to reduce such incidents. He told the responsible officials to implement the plans as thoroughly as possible.

Yan made the announcement during a meeting to assess crime prevention work in the capital in February, and prepare future plans.

He said police officials must strengthen mechanisms and management at all levels to increase work efficiency and prevent criminals from having the opportunity to steal. This, he said, reduces crime.

“I encourage every police official to strengthen their work in managing criminal cases. This includes improving processes regarding the detention of criminals, evidence collection and the speed and efficiency of solving criminal cases.

“These measures will ensure we can severely punish lawbreakers under the Criminal Code,” he said.

At the same time, he asked his officers to check on street snatchers who have been previously released from prison.

He said after being released, the same offenders often committed crimes and therefore police needed to continue being vigilant, and provide reports to their seniors.

Municipal Deputy Police Chief Song Ly who also joined the meeting, said positive steps had been made in the prevention of theft in Phnom Penh and encouraged officials from all levels to increase work efficiency.

He said after Yan’s address, police officers would step up their efforts to reduce crime as much as possible.

Ly said Yan had also encouraged the rank and file to practice the law to the letter and bring order to Phnom Penh.

“The common cases we are working on involve snatch thefts involving money, mobile phones and other belongings. Theft from premises is also very common,” Ly said.

A summary of a report on crime prevention in Phnom Penh in February, which was read by Suy Sokunthea, the deputy director of the Criminal Police Department, said police officers solved 62 of the 71 cases that happened from February 1-29.

He said police caught 88 suspects in February. And of the number, traces of drugs were present in the urine samples of 78, or 89 per cent of them.