Police chief Adul Saengsingkaew refuses to reconsider his order to select officers randomly from a pool of 4,000 specialist investigators nationwide and send them to fill vacancies in the strife-ridden South. This lottery is wrong from top to bottom.
The concept of a national police force goes directly against former prime minister Anand Panyarachun’s “Seven Pillars of Sustainable Democracy”, one of which is decentralisation. A police force must, by its nature, be localised, for each region differs from others – especially the South. For example, how many cops in Bangkok or Isaan speak Yawi and understand Islam and its culture? How will they communicate effectively with locals, let alone investigate? The cops from each region should be drawn from, and be accountable to, the region’s citizenry, through its elected representatives. Not only the police lottery, but the department itself, is built upon a false premise, one of national homogeneity.
Not surprisingly, those who are forced to do anything will not be willing workers, and are likely to be ineffective – further aggravating the volatile situation down south.
Police Lt-Colonel Khaisaeng Thawilwong, representing 76 officers from Provincial Region 4 who oppose the plan, says that those objecting are not protesting against being transferred to the South, but rather against the random selection process. Rather than saying that the protesters should face a disciplinary investigation, Deputy PM Chalerm Yoobamrung, who oversees the police, should commend Pol Lt-Colonel Khaisaeng for his courage, and work with the 76 to get a process that identifies those most suited for these most sensitive posts and rewards them accordingly, so that they go full of enthusiasm to help calm this troubled region.
As Chalerm is fond of saying, “Put the right man in the right job” – and a random process surely doesn’t do that.