Royal Thai Police probe lacks results
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Royal Thai Police probe lacks results

The much-awaited findings of a probe into the conflict between national police chief Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol and his deputy Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn are a major let-down.

On March 20, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin transferred both senior police officials to the Prime Minister's Office to address a mounting rift within the police force.

Starting with fanfare, a committee was appointed by Mr Srettha to do the job, but it ended with disappointment.

The only takeaway is whether Mr Srettha -- or anyone at all -- can salvage the reputation of the Royal Thai Police (RTP).

The probe, which concluded yesterday, failed to boost the image of the RTP and restore public trust in the institution.

It must be said that all three members of the committee -- former interior permanent secretary Chatchai Promlert, former deputy attorney-general Chatipong Jiraphan and former deputy police chief Pol Gen Winai Thongsong -- did not show their faces at the press conference announcing the results.

The onus fell on legal expert, Wissanu Krea-ngam, a former deputy prime minister who recently became a legal adviser to Mr Srettha, to communicate with reporters.

Pol Gen Winai said in March that the truth must be uncovered. The team today offers none.

First of all, the probe's outcome does not determine who was right or wrong.

This is a letdown. It needs to be said that the probe team, and the many sub-committees, spent four months reviewing documents and talking to over 50 officials.

What the investigation team found is nothing new. The committee says the investigation acknowledges that "there are conflicts at every level in Royal Thai Police" -- something the whole country already knows.

The team mentioned that both high-ranked policemen and their subordinates are facing accusations of corruption, yet it is a pity that the team has not revealed the details.

It says only that charges have been brought and the justice process is ongoing.

However, it also says that only the Council of State and the Ministry of Justice can determine which law enforcement agency -- the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the RTP or the Anti-Money Laundering Office -- can legally handle the corruption accusations the officers are facing.

The team, however, made a few consequential recommendations. One is that Pol Gen Torsak must be reinstated at the RTP because "there is no reason to keep him at the Prime Minister's Office".

As for Pol Gen Surachate, the investigating team found that he was "unfairly dismissed from duty pending investigation".

Pol Gen Surachate may return to the Royal Thai Police headquarters while also retaining his right to compete for the top job in the next national police chief election.

The public expected more from this investigation. It needs to see a higher accountability standard when high-ranking police are accused of corruption.

Here, the public has been given a mere token gesture while the probe team kicks the can down the road.


Bangkok Post editorial column

These editorials represent Bangkok Post thoughts about current issues and situations.

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