A senior adviser to the Royal Thai Police has defended the lottery system which will be used to randomly select officers for transfer to the far South.
Pol Gen Chatchawal Suksomjit, who oversees police investigations, said the southern region was desperately short of experienced specialist investigators.
He said the Southern Border Provinces Police Operation Centre has 150 vacant positions for specialist investigators at the levels of inspector, deputy superintendent and deputy inspector with at least four years' experience. Only 42 officers had volunteered for the posts.
Pol Gen Chatchawal said there are three methods being used to fill the vacant positions.
First, officers can apply for the postings on a voluntary basis. They must serve for at least two years on active duty in the South, after which time they can request to be transferred to vacant posts elsewhere.
A total of 13 specialist investigators have volunteered this way.
The second option also requires officers to volunteer, but only in an acting role. When they complete their two-year stint in the South, they will be reinstated to their original postings. A total of 29 officers have chosen this option.
The remaining 108 vacant postings must be filled by officers selected through the nationwide lottery system, Pol Gen Chatchawal said.
Officers exempted from the draw are female investigators, officers who are aged over 55, officers who have already served in the South for two years or more, officers who are awaiting transfer to other postings, and officers who are in poor health.
Pol Gen Chatchawal said each police unit has been told to submit a list of officers qualified for the random draw as well as a list of officers who do not meet the requirements. Officers who have objections to the lists could present their case within seven days, he said.
Pol Gen Chatchawal said the random draw is the fairest method. If commanders were allowed to pick officers for the postings, it would invite favouritism, he said.
The lottery draw will be carried out and overseen by a committee set up at each police unit.
The draw was initially scheduled for Jan 7, but has been brought forward to this Thursday. Each unit will have to submit the names of officers selected in the draw to the Royal Thai Police headquarters, and the national police chief will then issue them assignments in the far South.
"Any officers who refuse to carry out their assignment will face disciplinary action," Pol Gen Chatchawal said.
Seventy-six officers from Provincial Police Region 4 have openly opposed the plan. They submitted a letter on Thursday to the Royal Thai Police headquarters in Bangkok, asking it to review the order for investigators to enter their names into the draw.
They objected to the random nature of the draw, saying it was not fair for officers with family commitments.
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