'Police 4.0' latest plan to catch crooks
Capital's deputy chief wants to update procedures for digital era
Pol Maj Gen Sukhun Prommayon may not have made his name as an expert on police reform, but the deputy chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau believes he has plenty to contribute on the issue.
Although he says he won't advocate any changes that result in a reduction of police power, he is keen to push ahead with what he calls the "Police 4.0" model.
"City police need to work in the same direction as Thailand 4.0," Pol Maj Gen Sukhun told the Bangkok Post, referring to the state policy to steer Thailand toward the fourth industrial revolution, which emphasises technology and high-level services.
The core elements of Thailand 4.0 are now incorporated in "Crimes", the new computer software Pol Maj Gen Sukhun and his team developed to give a modern look to the police force.
It is designed to bring about the digitalisation of police work and enable officers to use a large pool of data to help them search for and arrest criminals and, as a result, impress people with faster and better services.
These goals have been in the mind of Pol Maj Gen Sukhun since he was appointed as a deputy city police chief last year after having worked as a provincial police commander in Ang Thong and Suphan Buri during the early years of the now-dissolved National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).
Those provincial experiences were the first time Pol Maj Gen Sukhun had worked outside of Bangkok since his graduation from the Royal Police Cadet Academy in 1985.
The transfer, which came when he was the chief of Metropolitan Police Division 3 overseeing eastern Bangkok, was ordered for political reasons as the NCPO wanted to consolidate its power base in the capital.
But the abrupt change of his career path turned into an opportunity for Pol Maj Gen Sukhun to gain a more complete picture of the nationwide crime scene.
Pol Maj Gen Sukhun always intended to put this experience into use when he came back to the capital, but due to the increasing adoption of internet technology and more modern methods of policing he also understood that he would need to implement changes to the way his teams applied their skills.
"Police need to keep abreast of new technology and change their work from paper to digital platforms," Pol Maj Gen Sukhun stressed.
Crime recording will be the first procedure to benefit from this new approach. Officers can use the new software when they receive people's complaints at the police station and then access and update details on the go as they investigate the case.
"No more jotting down the complaints on paper," he chuckles.
People's problems, no matter whether they are just small issues like missing documents, will be entered into the computer as soon as their complaints are lodged with the police, according to Pol Maj Gen Sukhun.
Crimes will then record and keep them in a system which is linked with data supplied by key police agencies like patrol, crime suppression and traffic units.
"Officers can use Crimes to help analyse wrongdoings in certain areas in a quick manner," Pol Maj Gen Sukhun said.
At present, Crimes is being piloted at two police stations in each of nine Bangkok areas overseen by Metropolitan Police Division 1 to 9.
Upcountry, two police stations in each province are also trialling the software.
Crimes not only builds a network of data within police agencies, but it is also going to be linked with other state offices and private companies.
"Being able to quickly access information from agencies such as provincial administrations, Land Transport departments and even the Social Security Office, as well as the Metropolitan Electricity Authority and the Metropolitan Waterworks, will be very helpful to police," said Pol Maj Gen Sukhun.
This usage is similar to businesses which are increasingly relying on "big data" collected from many digital platforms to gain a more sophisticated understanding of complex consumption patterns.
Police investigators also need to collate and manipulate information from a wider variety of sources, like pieces of a jigsaw, when trying to solve complicated cases.
Conversely, the software will also make it easier for victims of crime to get accurate updates on their cases as all the information will be in one place, believes the police chief.
Pol Maj Gen Sukhun has also set up a team of cyber-patrol officers within the Metropolitan Police Bureau to help the Technology Crime Suppression Division curb online gambling and internet scams.
"We'll even be alert to 'dek waen' [street racing] online chats and be able to monitor where and when they plan to meet," he said, referring to a fresh attempt to stop young motorcyclists from illegally racing on city roads.