Suicides prompt police to let officers seek hometown duty

Suicides prompt police to let officers seek hometown duty

'Unfamiliarity' drives up investigators' stress levels

A string of police suicides prompts changes allowing officers to request to be stationed in their home provinces, to reduce stress levels. (Bangkok Post photo)
A string of police suicides prompts changes allowing officers to request to be stationed in their home provinces, to reduce stress levels. (Bangkok Post photo)

Police officers can now request to be stationed in their home provinces, in a move to reduce stress levels thought to be the main reason four policemen took their own lives in the past four months, deputy police spokesman Kissana Phathanacharoen said on Monday.

The four police officers - based in Chumphon, Chiang Mai, Sing Buri and Kamphaeng Phet - were overwhelmed by stress and took their own lives after being transferred from their home provinces to investigation units in the other provinces. 

The officers were said to be unfamiliar with investigative work due to their lack of experience. 

"Furthermore, the shortage of police investigators nationwide means that investigators often have to shoulder more workload," Pol Col Kissana said.

Pol Col Kissana said that of the 17,500 police investigator positions across in the Royal Thai Police, 5,900 were currently vacant.

"Some investigators have complained about being overworked, or being placed in units which do not match their skills, qualifications, and/or preferences," he said.

As response, national police chief Chaktip Chaijinda has instructed assistant national police chief Pol Lt Gen Piya Uthayo to study ways to help reduce work-related stress among investigators, Pol Col Kissana said. 

"Allowing officers to seek a transfer to their home provinces and giving more weight to officers' preferences in unit assignments are among the measures that were discussed," he said. 

"While all requests will be taken into account, not all will be approved as we also have to take into account other factors, especially considering our current shortage [of investigators]," he said.

Officers with a law degree can formally ask for a posting as an investigator, who receive additional incentives and benefits depending on their position and ranking.

That said, Pol Col Kissana said that work-related stress may not be the only factor that drove the officers to suicide.

"A check of their personal and professional records suggests that they may have had underlying health problems, and/or were facing personal problems," he said.


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