Drink-driving checkpoints suspended

Drink-driving checkpoints suspended

Police to concentrate on Covid-19 prevention

Police have again suspended use of checkpoints to test motorists for driving under the influence of alcohol, citing the need to concentrate on stopping the spread of Covid-19.

The order was signed by deputy police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas, on behalf of the national police chief, and is effective from April 18.

This was an abupt about turn.

It was Pol Gen Damrongsak who announced on March 31 that the police chief, Suwat Jangyodsuk, had issued a directive that drink-driving checkpoints should resume operations nationwide from April 1, under strict new guidelines.

Their use was suspended in October last year, soon after Pol Gen Suwat took office. He promised their operations would be made more transparent.

Pol Gen Damrongsak said the new order is for all police units to study directives issued under Section 9 of the emergency decree, including the one declaring 18 provinces as  maximum control areas and 59 provinces as control areas, to stem the latest Covid-19 wave.

Police units were to place emphasis on monitoring gatherings and activities deemed of high-risk of spreading the virus.

The order said checkpoints for alcohol tests and strict enforcement of traffic laws were to be  suspended, especially in areas of maximum covid control. Checkpoints for crime prevention, drug interception and border security could continue to operate, but they must not cause the public too much inconvenience.

Police must also cease social activities for entertainment purposes. Traditional ceremonies  could be held, but should have adequate disease control measures in place.

While working, police must strictly follow disease control measures such as wearing face masks at all times. They must have their temperature taken before going out to work,  practice social distancing and use ThaiChana and MorChana apps.

They should also refrain from misconduct, such as heavy drinking and frequenting venues deemed at high-risk of spreading disease, the order said.

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