New police chief puts forth bold vision
Exclusive: Newly appointed Suwat does things differently and plans to make big changes
Pol Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk, the newly appointed national police chief, isn't the typical type of police general. He appears to be a man of few words. And despite his considerable experience in criminal investigations, he isn't your typical outspoken police investigator either.
Despite his rather humble personality, he has a very ambitious goal to redesign the national police's five-year strategic plan, which he believes will help pave the way for the Thai police to deal more efficiently with changes to fighting crime in the future.
In the next two years, he is determined to speak to all levels of policemen to find out what they want to see the police organisation become within five years. He has pledged to turn their ideas into a strategic plan for developing the police force.
The values for "Our Cops", which stand for oneness, are practices that are up-to-date with universal standards, reliability and trust, competency, overall fairness, people-orientation and service-mindedness. These values are outlined in the police chief's vision for the 2021 budget year, he said.
He plans to remove all overlapping police roles and to increase the number of patrolling officers. However, the first step is to convince the younger generation about the need for police, he said.
Unlike any of his predecessors, the new national police chief started out by sending out an urgent memorandum to all police officials saying that there was no need for them to visit him at the office just to congratulate him on his promotion.
"No congratulations or celebrations [for me] on the new promotion, birthday, New Year and Songkran. Be there and do your work. Text me on Line if you want to send your best wishes," he wrote in the memo.
Pol Gen Suwat admitted that he had never thought he would become a policeman. After graduating in a science-mathematics programme from Saint Louis School Chachoengsao, he won a place to study at both Triam Udom Suksa School and the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School (AFAPS).
He finally chose the AFAPS and the reason was he didn't want to become a medical doctor. His father said he would end up becoming a medical doctor if he chose to study at Triam Udom Suksa School. He studied and graduated in Class 20 at AFAPS.
And when it came to choosing which force to be in after his graduation, it was his father again who made the decision for him to become a police officer.
After his graduation, he began working as a deputy chief investigator at Hua Mak police station. His very first investigation dealt with a hunt for a car robbery gang that operated in Bangkok.
The gang normally took stolen cars to be dismantled in Suphan Buri and Ang Thong. The new police detective had fun in chasing the gang because he loves a challenge, he recalled.
He spent four years working as a detective at Hua Mak police station before being transferred to become a personal secretary of former police chief Pol Gen Sant Sarutanond, who was then chief of the police's commissariat.
There he had the chance to learn about management work within a police organisation. But he could not resist a strong desire to continue with crime investigations for too long.
He later requested to be transferred to work at the investigation section of the Metropolitan Police Division 1, formerly known as Phra Nakhon Nuea Metropolitan Division, where he met Pol Lt Gen Preecha Thimamontri, a well-known police investigator, whom Pol Gen Suwat has credited as his best crime investigation teacher and learnt a lot from.
"I was a police captain who had to change his trousers at a petrol station into jeans, a T-shirt and a pair of flip-flops…and I carried a pager to communicate with the office," said Pol Gen Suwat.
He spent almost five years doing work he was very fond of before he was promoted to the chief police investigator at Samut Prakan police station, where he was still actively involved in a special police task force set up specifically for hunting down criminals in the provinces.
A few years later, he became a deputy chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau's (MPB) intelligence section, a position that allowed him to take the lead in designing a special police investigation course for the MPB.
He later climbed the career ladder until he became one of the two deputy police chiefs last year. And this year, he became the national police chief who has two more years left until retirement.
"I had never expected to become what I am now," he said firmly.