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Top cop suggests family members should get priority for police jobs

National Police chief Neth Savoeun (centre) attends an internal security meeting at the Ministry of Interior in Phnom Penh earlier this yeara. National Police
National Police chief Neth Savoeun (centre) attends an internal security meeting at the Ministry of Interior in Phnom Penh earlier this yeara. National Police

Top cop suggests family members should get priority for police jobs

National Police Chief Neth Savoeun has appeared to acknowledge rampant nepotism within the police force, calling for slightly stricter regulations going forward, but nonetheless saying children and relatives of civil servants should still be prioritised for police positions over other candidates.

In remarks given at a National Police meeting on August 26, a recording of which was obtained yesterday, Savoeun seemed to be giving his subordinates guidelines on how to prioritise relatives without completely disregarding official standards. “If they are a little heavy or a little too light or a little short, we can take them,” he said.

But Savoeun warned against taking candidates that are blatantly unqualified, saying if the candidates are “round potatoes” they should let them pass or fail the test on their own merit.

He also acknowledged that, in the past, he had intervened for family members of civil servants, signing forms allowing them to become police officers.

“I am bored of signing them,” he said, claiming a signature alone should no longer be enough to enter the force.

He went on to say family members of cops and other civil servants must still take formal exams, but if they get an equal score to another candidate, they should be given priority. “They can take them first because they are children of our officials.”

Attempts to reach Savouen were unsuccessful yesterday.

CNRP chief whip Son Chhay said he was unsurprised by the comments, but was nonetheless concerned to hear how far corruption had penetrated, adding that the potential for nepotism was “wrong” and “unlawful”.

Additional reporting by Andrew Nachemson

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