Police reshuffle list mistakes prompt probe
Dead police chief is marked for transfer
National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda admitted Wednesday the annual police reshuffle line-up announced on Tuesday contained factual errors and promised to carry out a probe into how the mistakes occurred.
He was responding to mounting public criticism of some of the embarrassing mistakes picked up and reported by the media.
It was reported, for instance, that the name of Pol Maj Gen Wanat Atthakawin, commander of Provincial Police Region 3, appeared at No.500 on the list but his police rank was downgraded to "Pol Col" and his position was downgraded to a deputy Nakhon Ratchasima provincial police chief.
The list then said he was promoted to become a deputy chief of the investigation division of Provincial Police Region 3.
Worse still, at No.613 on the reshuffle list, Pol Col Somkiat Yuwadi, the former head of Mai Riang police station in Nakhon Si Thammarat was announced as the new chief at Khanom police station in the same province despite having died in 2013.
Pol Gen Chakthip confirmed the mistakes occurred and about 6% of the entries made on the list were made in error.
He blamed the fiasco partly on the fact the reshuffle was carried out in a new manner.
It was the first time in more than a decade that the annual reshuffle was handled by the Royal Thai Police's central administration office and overseen by the the national police chief himself, Pol Gen Chakthip said.
This was in line with instructions laid down by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) chief under Section 44 of the interim charter, he said.
Normally, each police bureau and division is responsible for preparing and proposing its own reshuffle list, he said.
But this time, only he and a handful of trusted assistants handled the job which took only one month and five days as required by the NCPO, he said.
It was impossible to get more people to deal with the reshuffle list because not everyone can be trusted and assigned to do it, he added.
Pol Gen Chakthip thanked media outlets for their contribution in trying to verify the reshuffle list and reporting the mistakes.
He said his deputies would lead a formal probe into how the mistakes were made and report back their findings in 15 days.
No one will be held responsible for making the mistakes but the findings will be useful in making sure they do not happen again in the next reshuffle, he said. All the mistakes were being corrected and the revised list was to be made public later Wednesday.
Of all the 7,849 appointments and transfers in the reshuffle, only 488 were incorrect, which equates to 6.2%, said Pol Maj Gen Sorakrai Phulpheom, the Samut Prakan provincial police chief, a member of the panel scrutinising the reshuffle list.
The 488 mistakes included 215 duplicated names, 270 duplicated appointments, one officer's demotion, one appointment of an unqualified person and one transfer of a dead policeman, he said.
These mistakes stemmed from an inaccurate police personnel database system, he said, adding the database was to be completely updated and corrected by Wednesday.
Pol Maj Gen Piyaphan Pingmuan, a deputy police spokesman, offered an apology earlier Wednesday to all police officials on the list for the mistakes.
Asserting it was impossible to demote someone, Pol Maj Gen Piyaphan said he believed the litany of mistakes would not sully the reputation of the police force and the senior police officials affected by the errors would fully understand that mistakes can occur.