The Royal Thai Police (RTP) (Thai: ตำรวจแห่งชาติ; General System of Transcription">RTGS: tamruat haeng chat) are the national police force of Thailand. The RTP employs between 210,700 and 230,000 officers, roughly 17 percent of all civil servants (excluding military and the employees of state-owned enterprises). The Royal Thai Police frequently is recognized as the fourth armed force of Thailand as their tradition, concept, culture, skill, and training are relatively same as the army and most of their officer cadets need to graduate from the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School together with prospective cadets of the armed forces branches as a preparatory requirement before entering the Police Academy, while the constables endure paramilitary training similar to the army but with an additional focus on law enforcement.
Until the 19th century Royal Thai Armed Forces personnel, aside from their duties of national defence, also performed law enforcement duties alongside dedicated civil servants. Responsibility for law and order was divided into the six ministries led by chancellors of state (during the Ayutthaya and Thonburi eras); in time of war, police units were under royal command as part of the army. Only during the reigns of King Mongkut (Rama IV) and King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) did the nation see a huge reform and the Westernization of Thai law enforcement forces to adapt to the changing situation and needs of the country. By 1902, the Police Cadet Academy (page does not exist)">Royal Thai Police Cadet Academy was founded to train future police officers. In 1915 the provincial and urban police forces were united as one national organization under the Ministry of Interior (established 1894).
Primary responsibility for the maintenance of public order through enforcement of the kingdom's laws was exercised by the Thailand National Police Department (TNPD), a subdivision of the Interior Ministry. Charged with performing police functions throughout the entire country, the TNPD was a unitary agency whose power and influence in Thai national life had at times rivalled that of the armed forces itself.
The formal functions of the TNPD included more than the enforcement of laws and apprehension of offenders. The department also played an important role in the government's efforts to suppress the remnants of the communist insurgency. In the event of an invasion by external forces, much of the police force would come under the control of the Ministry of Defense to serve with, but not be incorporated into, the military forces. Template Template-Fact" style="white-space:nowrap;">
Originally modelled on the pre–World War II national police force of Japan, the TNPD was reorganized several times to meet changing public order and internal security needs. American advice, training, and equipment, which were provided from 1951 through the early 1970s, did much to introduce new law enforcement concepts and practices and to aid in the modernization of the TNPD. During this era the strength and effectiveness of the police grew steadily.
All components of the police system were administered by the TNPD headquarters in Bangkok, which also provided technical support for law enforcement activities throughout the kingdom. The major operational units of the force were the Provincial Police, the Border Patrol Police (BPP), the Metropolitan Police, and smaller specialized units supervised by the Central Investigation Bureau.
In mid-1987 the total strength of the TNPD, including administrative and support personnel, was estimated at roughly 110,000. Of this number, over one-half were assigned to the Provincial Police and some 40,000 to the BPP. More than 10,000 served in the Metropolitan Police. Quasi-military in character, the TNPD was headed by a director general, who held the rank of police general. He was assisted by three deputy directors general and five assistant directors general, all of whom held the rank of police lieutenant general. Throughout the TNPD system, all ranks except the lowest (constable) corresponded to those of the army. The proliferation of high ranks in the TNPD organizational structure, as in the military, indicated the political impact of the police on national life. Template Template-Fact" style="white-space:nowrap;">
In 1998, TNPD was transferred from the Ministry of Interior of Thailand to be directly under the Office of the Prime Minister. It acquired a new name, in English, the "Royal Thai Police" (RTP). The title of its commander was changed from "Director- General of the TNPD" to "Commissioner- General of the Royal Thai Police". Template Template-Fact" style="white-space:nowrap;">
A 40,000 person paramilitary force. The BPP and the PARU were largely creations of the US CIA. In the late-1950s and 1960s, "The BPP and PARU were integral in U.S. and Thai counterinsurgency efforts." The BPP, other than protecting the borders, countered "infiltration and subversion..." and operated "as guerrilla forces in enemy held areas" such as northeast and southern Thailand. The PARU was a small unit used on clandestine missions outside Thailand.:51
The national coordinating headquarters has jurisdiction over the entire country. The CIB was organized to assist both provincial and metropolitan components of the Royal Thai Police in preventing and suppressing criminal activity and in minimizing threats to national security.
The RTP operates two fixed wing and 72 rotary-wing aircraft:
The Provincial Police form the largest of the Royal Thai Police operational components in both personnel and geographic responsibility. It is headed by a commander who reported to the police commissioner-general, and administered through four police regions—geographic areas of responsibility similar to those of the army regional commands. This force provides police services to every town and village throughout the kingdom except metropolitan Bangkok and border areas. The Provincial Police thus handled law enforcement activities and in many cases was the principal representative of the central government's authority in much of the country.
During the 1960s and early-1970s, as the police assumed an increasing role in counterinsurgency operations, a lack of coordination among security forces operating in the rural areas became apparent. Observers noted that the overall police effort suffered because of conflicting organizational patterns and the highly centralized control system that required decisions on most matters to emanate from the various police bureaus of the (then) TNPD headquarters in Bangkok.
A reorganization of the TNPD in 1978 and 1979 gave more command authority to the four police lieutenant generals who served as regional commissioners of the Provincial Police. Thereafter, the senior officers of each region not only controlled all provincial police assigned to their respective geographic areas but also directed the railroad, highway, marine, and forestry police units operating there, without going through the chain of command to the Central Investigation Bureau in Bangkok. Although this change increased the workload of the regional headquarters, it resulted in greater efficiency and improved law enforcement.
The RTP Police Education Bureau is responsible for training police personnel in the latest methods of law enforcement and the use of modern weapons. It operates the Royal Police Academy at Sam Phran for the officer corps, the detective training school at Bang Kaen, the Metropolitan Police Training School at Bang Kaen, and the Provincial Police training centers at Nakhon Pathom, Lampang, Nakhon Ratchasima, and Yala. The bureau also supervises a number of sites established and staffed by the BPP to train its field platoons in counterinsurgency operations. These sites include a large national facility at Hua Hin and smaller facilities in Udon Thani, Ubon Ratchathani, Chiang Mai, and Songkhla.
Tourist police are uniformed personnel who lack police powers and are largely responsible for writing out reports for insurance companies for victims of theft. In more serious cases, they will translate reports to be passed on to the regular police in Bangkok. Recently recruiting foreign nationals living in Thailand.
According to Reuters correspondent, Andrew Marshall, "The country has a special force of Tourist Police, set up specifically so that foreigners have as little contact as possible with the ordinary police—the effect on the crucial tourism industry would be chilling."
According to one source, there are 1,700 enlisted tourist police on the force.
Plans are to separate from the Royal Thai Police to become an independent authority.
Responsible for providing all law enforcement services for the capital city of Bangkok and its suburbs, the Metropolitan Police was probably the most visible and publicly recognizable of all Thai police components. This largely uniformed urban force operated under the command of a commissioner, who held the rank of police major general and was assisted by six deputy commissioners. Organizationally, the force consisted of three divisions, each responsible for police services in one of the three urban areas: northern Bangkok, southern Bangkok, and Thon Buri. Together they accounted for about forty police precincts, which were patrolled around the clock. In addition to covering the city with foot patrols, the Metropolitan Police maintained motorized units, a canine corps, building guards, traffic-control specialists, and law enforcement personnel trained to deal with juvenile problems. The Traffic Police Division also provides mounted escorts and guards of honor for the king and visiting dignitaries and served as a riot-control force to prevent unlawful demonstrations and to disperse unruly crowds within the capital city.
On 29 March 2016, in a move that the Bangkok Post said will "...will inflict serious and long-term damage...", the NCPO, under a Section 44 order (NCPO Order 13/2559) signed by junta chief Prayut Chan-o-cha, granted to commissioned officers of the Royal Thai Armed Forces broad police powers to suppress and arrest anyone they suspect of criminal activity without a warrant and detain them secretly at almost any location without charge for up to seven days. Bank accounts can be frozen, and documents and property can be seized. Travel can be banned. Automatic immunity for military personnel has been built into the order, and there is no independent oversight or recourse in the event of abuse. The order came into immediate effect. The net result is that the military will have more power than the police and less oversight.
The government has stated that the purpose of this order is to enable military officers to render their assistance in an effort to "...suppress organized crimes such as extortion, human trafficking, child and labor abuses, gambling, prostitution, illegal tour guide services, price collusion, and firearms. It neither aims to stifle nor intimidate dissenting voices. Defendants in such cases will go through normal judicial process, with police as the main investigator...trial[s] will be conducted in civilian courts, not military ones. Moreover, this order does not deprive the right of the defendants to file complaints against military officers who have abused their power."
The NCPO said that the reason for its latest order is that there are simply not enough police, in spite of the fact that there are about 230,000 officers in the Royal Thai Police force. They make up about 17 percent of all non-military public servants. This amounts to 344 cops for every 100,000 persons in Thailand, more than twice the ratio in Myanmar and the Philippines, one and a half times that of Japan and Indonesia, and roughly the same proportion as the United States.
The Royal Thai Police, especially the provincial forces, extensively uses pickup trucks and SUVs. For traffic regulation and patrolling in cities, sedans and motorcycles are also used. Highway police vehicles generally also have equipment like speed radars, breath analyzers, and emergency first aid kits. They also use tuk-tuks, minivans, bicycles, all-terrain vehicles, boats, and helicopters. Template Template-Fact" style="white-space:nowrap;">
Royal Thai Police vehicle colors vary widely according to grade, region, and kind of duty performed. Bangkok metropolitan police vehicles are black and white. Provincial police vehicles are maroon and white while highway police are maroon and yellow.
There are no standard-issue pistols carried by the Royal Thai Police. Policemen must buy their own pistol and he/she must buy what's available in Thailand and what he/she can afford. If the police officer can't afford a pistol, he may purchase one by paying in installments through their police co-operative.
One of the most popular police pistols is the M1911 pistol">M1911A1 .45 ACP pistol which can be found readily and relatively cheaply in Thailand. The 9mm Glock pistol"> Glock 19 Parabellum is another popular, albeit more expensive, choice.
In mid-2015, Pol Gen Somyot Phumphanmuang, Royal Thai Police Commissioner, initiated a program to allow officers to purchase United States-made, 9mm SIG Sauer P320 pistols for 18,000 baht each. The Thai market price for this gun is several times higher. The affordable price is made possible by a special police exemption from import quotas and import duties. In December 2017, 150,000 SIG Sauer P320SP pistols became available for purchase by police for 23,890 baht each. The RTP will, in addition, distribute 55,000 of the new pistols to police stations nationwide, each station receiving 60.
Though the Thai police does not issue pistols, long-guns are made available by the government. Common are the Heckler & Koch MP5 and FN P90 sub-machine guns, Remington 870 shotguns, the M4 carbine, and M16 rifles.
|M1911||Semi-automatic pistol||.45 ACP|| US
|Thai M1911A1 pistols produced under license; locally known as the Type 86 pistol (ปพ.86).|
|Glock||Semi-automatic pistol||.45 ACP||Austria|
SIG Sauer P320 compact pistol.jpg" src="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/37/SIG_Sauer_P320_compact_pistol.jpg/100px-SIG_Sauer_P320_compact_pistol.jpg" width="100" height="76" srcset="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/37/SIG_Sauer_P320_compact_pistol.jpg/150px-SIG_Sauer_P320_compact_pistol.jpg 1.5x, //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/37/SIG_Sauer_P320_compact_pistol.jpg/200px-SIG_Sauer_P320_compact_pistol.jpg 2x" data-file-width="1250" data-file-height="949" />
|SIG Sauer P320SP||Semi-automatic pistol||9×19mm Parabellum||Germany||150,000 made available for police purchase in Dec 2017.|
|Beretta Px4 Storm||Semi-automatic pistol||9×19mm Parabellum||Italy|
|Remington Model 870||Shotgun||12 gauge||US|
|Heckler & Koch MP5||Submachine gun||9×19mm Parabellum||Germany|
|FN P90||Submachine gun||5.7x28mm||Belgium|
|M16 rifle||Assault rifle||5.56×45mm NATO||US|
M4 Carbine RAS M68 CCO.jpg" src="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/39/PEO_M4_Carbine_RAS_M68_CCO.jpg/120px-PEO_M4_Carbine_RAS_M68_CCO.jpg" width="120" height="59" srcset="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/39/PEO_M4_Carbine_RAS_M68_CCO.jpg/180px-PEO_M4_Carbine_RAS_M68_CCO.jpg 1.5x, //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/39/PEO_M4_Carbine_RAS_M68_CCO.jpg/240px-PEO_M4_Carbine_RAS_M68_CCO.jpg 2x" data-file-width="3478" data-file-height="1698" />
|M4 Carbine||Assault rifle||5.56×45mm NATO||US|
|FN FAL||Battle Rifle||7.62×51mm NATO||Belgium|
Thai built Mercedes-Benz S600P police car in Bangkok.
White Toyota van, seen at Na wa Police station, Thailand.
Royal Thai Police uniforms vary widely according to rank, region, and kind of duty performed. Among the police, uniforms tend to resemble army dress rather than conventional police uniforms.
Considered part of the police "uniform", all male officers are required to shave the sides and back of their heads, leaving a short crop of hair on the top, hence its common name, (Thai: ขาวสามด้าน; General System of Transcription">RTGS: khao sam dan), or 'three white sides'. The models for the haircut are the royal guards who protect King Vajiralongkorn. They are known for their short haircuts, required by the monarch. "It's a royal practice," a retired police general said. "...we are all serving His Majesty the King...It looks beautiful...It doesn't hurt anyone."
A helmet for traffic police in Bangkok, Thailand August 31, 2010.
Police peaked caps of Royal Thai Police.
Royal Thai Police officer uniform.
Thai RPCA Commander uniform.
|NATO Code||OF-10||OF-9||OF-8||OF-7||OF-6||OF-5||OF-4||OF-3||OF-2||OF-1||Student Officer|
|Police General).svg" src="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0d/RTP_OF-9_%28Police_General%29.svg/50px-RTP_OF-9_%28Police_General%29.svg.png" width="50" height="125" srcset="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0d/RTP_OF-9_%28Police_General%29.svg/75px-RTP_OF-9_%28Police_General%29.svg.png 1.5x, //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0d/RTP_OF-9_%28Police_General%29.svg/100px-RTP_OF-9_%28Police_General%29.svg.png 2x" data-file-width="75" data-file-height="188" />||Police Lieutenant General).svg" src="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/38/RTP_OF-8_%28Police_Lieutenant_General%29.svg/50px-RTP_OF-8_%28Police_Lieutenant_General%29.svg.png" width="50" height="125" srcset="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/38/RTP_OF-8_%28Police_Lieutenant_General%29.svg/75px-RTP_OF-8_%28Police_Lieutenant_General%29.svg.png 1.5x, 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srcset="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a3/RTP_OF-6_%28Police_Brigadier%29.svg/75px-RTP_OF-6_%28Police_Brigadier%29.svg.png 1.5x, //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a3/RTP_OF-6_%28Police_Brigadier%29.svg/100px-RTP_OF-6_%28Police_Brigadier%29.svg.png 2x" data-file-width="75" data-file-height="188" />||Police Colonel).svg" src="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d5/RTP_OF-5_%28Police_Colonel%29.svg/50px-RTP_OF-5_%28Police_Colonel%29.svg.png" width="50" height="125" srcset="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d5/RTP_OF-5_%28Police_Colonel%29.svg/75px-RTP_OF-5_%28Police_Colonel%29.svg.png 1.5x, //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d5/RTP_OF-5_%28Police_Colonel%29.svg/100px-RTP_OF-5_%28Police_Colonel%29.svg.png 2x" data-file-width="75" data-file-height="188" />||Police Lieutenant Colonel).svg" src="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1f/RTP_OF-4_%28Police_Lieutenant_Colonel%29.svg/50px-RTP_OF-4_%28Police_Lieutenant_Colonel%29.svg.png" width="50" height="125" srcset="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1f/RTP_OF-4_%28Police_Lieutenant_Colonel%29.svg/75px-RTP_OF-4_%28Police_Lieutenant_Colonel%29.svg.png 1.5x, //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1f/RTP_OF-4_%28Police_Lieutenant_Colonel%29.svg/100px-RTP_OF-4_%28Police_Lieutenant_Colonel%29.svg.png 2x" data-file-width="75" data-file-height="188" />||Police Major).svg" src="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a3/RTP_OF-3_%28Police_Major%29.svg/50px-RTP_OF-3_%28Police_Major%29.svg.png" width="50" height="125" srcset="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a3/RTP_OF-3_%28Police_Major%29.svg/75px-RTP_OF-3_%28Police_Major%29.svg.png 1.5x, //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a3/RTP_OF-3_%28Police_Major%29.svg/100px-RTP_OF-3_%28Police_Major%29.svg.png 2x" data-file-width="75" data-file-height="188" />||Police Captain).svg" src="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/6a/RTP_OF-2_%28Police_Captain%29.svg/50px-RTP_OF-2_%28Police_Captain%29.svg.png" width="50" height="125" srcset="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/6a/RTP_OF-2_%28Police_Captain%29.svg/75px-RTP_OF-2_%28Police_Captain%29.svg.png 1.5x, //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/6a/RTP_OF-2_%28Police_Captain%29.svg/100px-RTP_OF-2_%28Police_Captain%29.svg.png 2x" data-file-width="75" data-file-height="188" />||Police Lieutenant).svg" src="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f0/RTP_OF-1b_%28Police_Lieutenant%29.svg/50px-RTP_OF-1b_%28Police_Lieutenant%29.svg.png" width="50" height="125" srcset="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f0/RTP_OF-1b_%28Police_Lieutenant%29.svg/75px-RTP_OF-1b_%28Police_Lieutenant%29.svg.png 1.5x, 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|General System of Transcription">RTGS||(no equivalent)||Phon Tam Ruad Ek||Phon Tam Ruad Tho||Phon Tam Ruad Tri||Phon Tam Ruad Jattawa||Phan Tam Ruad Ek||Phan Tam Ruad Tho||Phan Tam Ruad Tri||Roi Tam Ruad Ek||Roi Tam Ruad Tho||Roi Tam Ruad Tri||Nak Rian Nai Roi Tam Ruad|
|Anglicised version||Police General||Police Lieutenant General||Police Major General||Police Senior Colonel||Police Colonel||Police Lieutenant Colonel||Police Major||Police Captain||Police Lieutenant||Police Sub Lieutenant||Police Cadet Officer|
|UK equivalent (Military/Police)||Field Marshal||General
Inspector (page does not exist)">Subdivisional Inspector
|Constable ranks||Police Senior Sergeant Major"> Police Senior Sergeant Major" src="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3a/RTP_OR-9_%28Police_Senior_Sergeant_Major%29.svg/50px-RTP_OR-9_%28Police_Senior_Sergeant_Major%29.svg.png" width="50" height="125" srcset="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3a/RTP_OR-9_%28Police_Senior_Sergeant_Major%29.svg/75px-RTP_OR-9_%28Police_Senior_Sergeant_Major%29.svg.png 1.5x, //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3a/RTP_OR-9_%28Police_Senior_Sergeant_Major%29.svg/100px-RTP_OR-9_%28Police_Senior_Sergeant_Major%29.svg.png 2x" data-file-width="75" data-file-height="188" />||Police Sergeant Major"> Police Sergeant Major" src="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9f/RTP_OR-8_%28Police_Sergeant_Major%29.svg/50px-RTP_OR-8_%28Police_Sergeant_Major%29.svg.png" width="50" height="125" srcset="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9f/RTP_OR-8_%28Police_Sergeant_Major%29.svg/75px-RTP_OR-8_%28Police_Sergeant_Major%29.svg.png 1.5x, //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/9f/RTP_OR-8_%28Police_Sergeant_Major%29.svg/100px-RTP_OR-8_%28Police_Sergeant_Major%29.svg.png 2x" data-file-width="75" data-file-height="188" />||Police Sergeant"> Police Sergeant" src="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a4/RTP_OR-5_%28Police_Sergeant%29.svg/65px-RTP_OR-5_%28Police_Sergeant%29.svg.png" width="65" height="163" srcset="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a4/RTP_OR-5_%28Police_Sergeant%29.svg/98px-RTP_OR-5_%28Police_Sergeant%29.svg.png 1.5x, //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a4/RTP_OR-5_%28Police_Sergeant%29.svg/130px-RTP_OR-5_%28Police_Sergeant%29.svg.png 2x" data-file-width="75" data-file-height="188" />||Police Corporal"> Police Corporal" src="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/16/RTP_OR-4_%28Police_Corporal%29.svg/65px-RTP_OR-4_%28Police_Corporal%29.svg.png" width="65" height="163" srcset="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/16/RTP_OR-4_%28Police_Corporal%29.svg/98px-RTP_OR-4_%28Police_Corporal%29.svg.png 1.5x, //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/16/RTP_OR-4_%28Police_Corporal%29.svg/130px-RTP_OR-4_%28Police_Corporal%29.svg.png 2x" data-file-width="75" data-file-height="188" />||Police Lance Corporal"> Police Lance Corporal" src="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0b/RTP_OR-3_%28Police_Lance_Corporal%29.svg/65px-RTP_OR-3_%28Police_Lance_Corporal%29.svg.png" width="65" height="163" srcset="//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0b/RTP_OR-3_%28Police_Lance_Corporal%29.svg/98px-RTP_OR-3_%28Police_Lance_Corporal%29.svg.png 1.5x, //upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0b/RTP_OR-3_%28Police_Lance_Corporal%29.svg/130px-RTP_OR-3_%28Police_Lance_Corporal%29.svg.png 2x" data-file-width="75" data-file-height="188" />||No Insignia|
|Dahb Tam Ruad||Cha Sip Tam Ruad||Sip Tam Ruad Ek||Sip Tam Ruad Tho||Sip Tam Ruad Tri||Phon Tam Ruad|
|Police Senior Sergeant Major||Police Sergeant Major||Police Sergeant||Police Corporal||Police Lance Corporal||Police Constable|
|NATO Code||OR-9 or OR-8||OR-7 or OR-6||OR-5||OR-4||OR-3||OR-1|
On the occasion of the festivities surrounding its 12th anniversary, the Office of the Ombudsman, Thailand reported on its activities since its inception. Chief Ombudsman Panit Nitithanprapas noted that her office had handled nearly 25,000 cases during the period and observed that the Royal Thai Police had been found to be "the most corrupt agency in Thailand". Curiously, Ms Panit's photo does not appear among those of other former ombudsmen on the organisation's website, nor is there any other mention of her.
In the words of Jomdet Trimek, a former police officer, now an academician, "In-depth studies of the causes of...corruption tend to be avoided." Jomdet attributes police corruption to two factors: a centralized police bureaucracy which gives too much power to a few; and very low police salaries. He divides police corruption into three main forms: embezzlement of government funds, coercing bribes from the public, and collection of protection money from illegal business operators and gives examples of each. At the level of constable, this petty thievery is driven by low wages: entry level salaries for police with no university education was 6,800 baht (2012). In June 2015, the Bangkok Post reported that, "Thai police officers are paid around 14,760 baht per month (6,800–8,340 baht for entry level) and have to buy their own guns and even office supplies." He posits that one reason salaries are so low is that the sheer number of officers is staggering, roughly 250,000. This means that an increase of 5,000 baht in every cop's monthly salary would cost the government a politically untenable 15 billion baht annually.:51
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha appointed no-nonsense Police- General Somyot Poompanmoung head of the RTP following the coup of May 2014. Somyot, whose declared assets exceed US$11.5 million, has vowed to transfer, arrest, or prosecute all corrupt officers. But, according to Chuwit Kamolvisit, a former massage parlour magnate turned legislator, "police reform" is a never-ending mantra which never produces results. The "cash-for-jobs" culture within the police is too deep to uproot, he says, alleging that low-ranking officers earning just US$460 a month tap the public for bribes, or solicit protection money from dodgy businesses to top up their salaries and buy promotions. "Rank and status is everything in Thailand... when you are a small policeman to go up [sic], you need to have the right boss, and preferably one at a 'golden police station'– near a casino or entertainment venue", he explained.
In a 2008 article, The Economist summed up their assessment succinctly: "In Thailand's most sensational crimes, the prime suspects are often the police."
In August 2015, a post was made on the Sakon Nakhon Police Facebook page, allegedly from a junior officer. Among other observations the post asked, "...Are our meagre salaries enough to support our families? The answer is no. We have to borrow money and get trapped in debt. "So what about the phuyai [bigwigs]? Are they in debt too? Definitely not. They are rich. Why? Because at the end of every month, money from gambling dens, entertainment venues, the sex trade, human trafficking, drugs and whatnot are routinely sent to them." The post was immediately deleted. Then the Facebook page was deleted altogether. The supervisor of the junior policeman in charge of the page said it was all a technical mistake. Someone had hacked into the page to write the message to taint the image of the police force.
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