Prayut tells force to push reform for efficiency

Prayut tells force to push reform for efficiency

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered the Royal Thai Police office (RTPO) to push ahead with reform of the police force and also explain to the public why it was necessary.

Emerging from a high-level Police Commission meeting yesterday, Gen Prayut said reform of the force is necessary to streamline the agency and increase its efficiency.

The prime minister said the meeting dealt with many issues including police transfers and dismissals. He also made it clear that "rotten eggs" had no place in the police force.

Gen Prayut said the RTPO had a duty to explain what it has done so far regarding its implementation of police reform, which is one of the government's main priorities.

He said the public must know what they stand to gain from reform, although the many problems faced by the RTPO would take time to resolve.

He added solutions to problems must be tailored based on input from the government-appointed committee on police reform and study of relevant laws, as well as available resources and manpower.

"Details of this need to be communicated to the people. Officials can't proceed on their own. We need cooperation from all sides," the PM said.

Also attending yesterday's meeting was one of two deputy national police chiefs transferred last week.

National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda authorised the sudden transfer last Friday of two of his deputies -- Pol Gen Wirachai Songmetta and Pol Gen Chaiwat Kateworachai. Pol Gen Chaiwat was at the meeting yesterday in his capacity as deputy police chief.

No reason was given for the transfers although some believe it stemmed from a leaked phone conversation in which Pol Gen Chakthip apparently warned Pol Gen Wirachai not to get involved in the "Big Joke" case.

An investigation is ongoing into a gun attack on the car of former immigration chief Pol Lt Gen Surachate "Big Joke" Hakparn earlier this month. Pol Lt Gen Surachate linked the shooting to his opposition to a 2-billion-baht biometric identification system that the Immigration Bureau procured.

Pol Gen Wirachai was transferred to the Prime Minister's Office in an order signed by Gen Prayut. Pol Gen Chaiwat, meanwhile, was reassigned to work at the RTP's operations centre.

Pol Gen Wirachai's absence from yesterday's Police Commission meeting was noted by the press corps.


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