During a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the creation in 1945 of Cambodia’s National Police on Saturday, Interior Minister Sar Kheng pushed forward a proposal that will allow retired police and military police officers to gain employment in private security companies.
The new push, Kheng said, comes after he received positive responses from security agencies in early May about the possibility of recruiting retired officers.
“To achieve recent initiatives aimed at reducing the difficulties in life of retired officers, the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation has to work with the Personnel Department of the Ministry of Interior’s General Commissariat of National Police to determine clearly how many police officers would be retired and would volunteer to continue their work with private security companies,” Kheng said.
“We are striving to make it easier for them . . . apart from pensions, so they can make some additional income for their families.”
The Social Affairs Ministry, however, according to its planning department deputy director Touch Channy, is “not yet ready” to answer the Interior Minister’s proposal.
“We normally work on providing pensions but finding jobs for them , . . we are not ready,” Channy said.
He added that they will begin discussions regarding the request soon.
During the ceremony, Kheng also praised the National Police force for their work in maintaining public order, especially during and after the last national election in 2013 – when protests were regularly quelled using violence – and for “creating a warm environment for the physical and emotional safety of people”.
“[The police force] built tremendous advantages in preventing situations and shying away from social disaster caused by extremists aimed at conducting a revolution to overthrow the legitimate government after the election,” Kheng said.
But instead of just highlighting the National Police’s achievements, Licadho’s senior investigator Am Sam Ath said the government should also raise issues of misconduct among officers.
“We have found that the use of excessive forces to crack down on workers or on peaceful protests have left many people dead,” Ath said.
Last January, during the nationwide garment sector strike, mixed security forces opened fire at protesters in Phnom Penh’s Veng Sreng Boulevard.
The lethal clampdown resulted in the deaths of at least five people, dozens of injuries and the arrest of more than 23 workers and activists.