90,000 police in holiday drink-driving, drugs blitz
More than 90,000 police officers nationwide have been ordered to crack down on drink driving, narcotics and illegal entertainment venues during the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
The Royal Thai Police have deployed a similar number of officers every year since 2015 to ensure people's safety on the roads and prevent drug use and other crimes.
Apart from the tens of thousands of police, a large number of volunteers and members of civic networks help each year during the festive period when hordes of people return to the provinces to see their families and hold many parties, deputy national police chief Pol Gen Wirachai Songmetta said Tuesday.
The large-scale deployment of police reflects the government's struggle to make the country's New Year celebrations safer and bring down the terrible road carnage.
Since 2015, it has been estimated that 490 road accidents occur daily, with an average of 57 deaths and 512 injuries a day.
Pol Gen Wirachai said he believed the many official checkpoints on roads and in tourist areas would help boost safety. Speed cameras and breathalysers will also by used by police, he added.
However, currently only 5,000 breathalysers are available for all police stations nationwide.
Police would focus on drink driving as statistics have showed it is among the leading causes of deadly road accidents, according to Pol Gen Wirachai.
During the festivities, which will kick off next week, authorities will seize the cars of drivers who have consumed more than the legal limit of alcohol, army chief Chalermchai Sitthisad said.
The army has also ordered army camps and bases in many provinces to open their doors as rest areas for motorists who become exhausted after driving for many hours.
In areas crowded with tourists and revellers, police checkpoints will be set up to screen people. If they encounter anyone who looks suspicious in areas where large celebrations are held, officers will check if they have a criminal record.
Officers are also ordered to keep eye out for the use of illegal drugs as well as entertainment venues which do not close on time.
In term of house safety, this year police officers will continue using a Line chat application to communicate with home owners in a project called "Leave Homes with Police" when they travel upcountry, deputy national police chief Chaloemkiat Siworakhan said. Last year up to 7,000 householders took part in the project.
The Line app allows officers to talk directly with owners quickly, he said.