March 18, 2014 00:00 By Budsarakham Sinlapalavan
Ex-deputy police chief says power should be vested with provincial governors
The focus of the latest People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) national forum at Lumpini Park in Bangkok was whether to decentralise power in the police force to give local stations more control.
Pol General Kraisook Sinsook, the former deputy police chief, said power in the force should be decentralised.
Kraisook said centralising power in the Royal Thai Police through government systems meant the force operated too slowly, so power should be decentralised under provincial governors.
“If you compare the police structure with the human life cycle, this system is in old age and sick. So we should reform its structure,” he said.
Kraisook said the main duty of police was to keep the peace, protect the public, suppress crime and protect His Majesty the King and the royal dynasty.
He said work beyond these duties should be transferred to other agencies, while the public should be more involved in helping the police fight crime.
Kraisook said political interference in police reshuffling is a major problem.
Komsarn Pokong, a Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University law lecturer, said police should build a strong relationship with locals, so they should not be transferred to other stations.
He said if they violated a rule, fire them but don’t transfer them.
Komsarn also believes power in the force should be decentralised.
PDRC co-leader Thaworn Senneam mentioned how some police chiefs in other countries were elected by the public and had to present a policing plan before the election.
He believes there are more good police than bad ones and also wants to see power decentralised.
Judicial reform ‘necessary’
Pinyo Thongchai, former secretary of the Office of Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission, expressed confidence that judicial reform would bring about change, saying the major problem with the justice system was the mindset that convicts must be jailed.
He said a study found that the country had more than 350 criminal laws and most could result in imprisonment when a fine might be more appropriate.
Imprisonment, however, increased the burden on the state while the country would not be footing any bill for having convicts fined.
Pinyo said the other objectives of judicial reform were to bring about equality and end conflicts with reconciliation.
The justice system should be tuned towards prevention rather than suppression, with people forced to carry out community service or pay fines.
Pinyo said jailing should be used only for repeat offences.
Increasing the efficiency of law enforcement and providing a mechanism to help people in need of legal assistance should also be part of the reform, he said.