Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng on Friday issued a 10-point guidance plan to all police officials on the “management and use of the National Police's administrative frameworks” to maintain their dignity, morality and professionalism in executing their roles.
Sar Kheng instructed the General Commissariat of the National Police and Phnom Penh municipal and provincial police commissioners to manage and use weapons properly as dictated by the commissariat and the Law on the Control of Weapons, Ammunition and Explosives.
“Great heed is to be paid to the management of weapons in their units. Reports are to be made on a regular basis to the General Commissariat of the National Police and the Ministry of Interior,” he said.
He also reiterated his instruction to all units to ensure the proper use of police forces by not using them to serve at private companies, factories or other establishments – especially entertainment venues and casinos – without permission from senior leadership.
Sar Kheng also banned the use of police units, especially convoys of motorbikes or cars with sirens, to escort private individuals without permission from the General Commissariat of the National Police and the Ministry of Interior.
“Heads of units have the obligation to implement the content of this guidance. [The heads] are to take full responsibility for the Ministry of Interior's directive and established laws,” he said.
Ministry of Interior spokesperson Khieu Sopheak told The Post on Sunday that the ministry had observed problems and had been receptive to the public's ideas over the issue.
“Sometimes, ordinary businessmen arrive on an aeroplane and are met with a convoy of motorbikes with sirens – but they are not allowed to. So we see such problems, and this clear guidance has been issued so motorbikes and cars with sirens are used properly in line with the law. Such escorts are only allowed for high ranking officials,” Sopheak said.
He said the ministry had also observed and received information from the public about irregularities regarding the management of firearms, so the measures had been tightened.
“I thank social media [users] for quickly providing the authorities with information. We see some individuals who are not permitted to use guns flaunting weapons at drinking tables. There are many such pictures,” he said.
Sopheak appealed to the public, saying that if anyone has information about officials using firearms improperly, to please take photographs and post them on the Facebook pages of the Ministry of Interior, Sar Kheng or any relevant authorities, and action would be taken immediately.
Kin Phea, the director of the International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said the Ministry of Interior had issued a number of letters in the past over the use of firearms.
“We have had a lot of guidance, but it's not very effective. We see that weapons are still being used illegally and there are other improprieties such as private individuals using cars with police number plates."
"Policemen continue to be seen guarding entertainment venues and the private houses of this or that person. The law has not yet been enforced effectively,” Phea said.
He said that in order to build the public's confidence, he wanted to see legal procedures enforced more strictly whenever any authorities carry out tasks contrary to the law.