New top cop calls a halt to drink-drive checkpoints

New top cop calls a halt to drink-drive checkpoints

The new national police chief has ordered the suspension of drink-driving checkpoints until the transparency of the tests can be ensured.

Pol Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk issued the order at a meeting of 496 senior police officers, at the Royal Thai Police Sports Club on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road yesterday.

Pol Gen Suwat, who assumed the top job on Thursday, said there must be no drink-driving checkpoints until police can ensure transparency in the testing.

"There must not be roadside tests. They must be carried out at a hospital, so that people can feel confident that they are accurate. Until we can do that, we will set them at zero for now," the national police chief said.

Pol Gen Suwat also said there must be no gambling dens, online gambling or buying of police positions.

He wanted all officers to be well trained in both the law and tactical operations.

He also ordered that police install 5,000 surveillance cameras in Bangkok within four months so that detectives can no longer use a lack of cameras as an excuse for poor work.

In response to Pol Gen Suwat's directives, Metropolitan Police Bureau chief Pol Lt Gen Phukphong Phongpetra yesterday ordered a halt to all checkpoints including alcohol testing and crime prevention stops.

Mana Nimitmongkol, secretary-general of the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand, welcomed the move saying at least the new police chief recognises the problems that have long been voiced by the public.

He cited research by a Royal Police Cadet Academy lecturer that showed corruption took place in almost all lines of police work.

"But whether the problems will be solved in the long run, we need to wait and see whether the police reform bill proposed by [former chief charter drafter] Meechai Ruchupan is received well," he said.

The police chief has also instructed police officers on temporary duty to return to their own units within the week except those who are accused of misconduct or face disciplinary or criminal actions, a police source said.

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