• The Thai Police: What Proactive Changes Should They Make?

    The police in Thailand already have a tough job, so I am going to try not to knock them too much. For one, their wages are absolutely below what a person that puts his life on the line needs to be. Thai police officers also have to purchase their own weapons, uniforms and I am told, their patrol motorcycles. I cringe every time I see two or three of them on one motorbike weaving in and out of the crazy and dangerous Thai traffic system. On top of all the expenses, they have to be in the heat, rain and pollution for their entire shift. This is not a job that you or I would want to have!

    However, it seems that the Thai police have some room for improvement. For one, they tend to set up roadblocks to check vehicles and drivers. These roadblocks may nab a few helmet-less motorbike drivers, unlicensed drivers, drivers not donning their seat belts and an occasional drunk driver. One thing it rarely catches is a speeder driving recklessly at 40 or 50 miles over the speed limit running other drivers off the road. The worse thing about one of these silly roadblocks is that it causes some of the worst traffic jams found in Thailand.

    There needs to be more roving traffic patrols and traffic stops. They need to be curbing, ticketing and sometimes arresting reckless drivers that a road block will never catch. Driver's have to slow down for roadblocks and as soon as they get through the check point, they are driving like idiots again. The Thai police need to aggressively stop and ticket the motorbikes and vehicles going the wrong way against traffic. Not only will aggressive enforcement of traffic laws lower the number of vehicular accidents injuries and deaths, but it the fines imposed would also bring in revenue allowing for higher pay and better working conditions.

    As far as criminal matters? More patrols are needed at all hours of the night. Rarely do you find a Thai police officer patrolling areas in the middle of the night when crimes often occur. As a matter of fact, you can barely get the Thai police to respond to your home for loud music complaints, suspicious vehicle reports and domestic disturbances. I know of several expats and Thais that have called for these reasons and the police dispatcher seems oblivious as to what can be done. They seem to be bothered with the call and often times say they can't do anything. Most Thai police will not respond and take action in cases of domestic violence. They will frankly tell you that they do not want to do anything, it is is a family matter and it is no ones business.

    Following up on a crime also seems to be a problem with the Thai police. They often reluctantly take a report, but never do any investigation or make an arrest. They seem to think that the taking and filing the criminal report is their only job. They never seem to be willing to get out in the field and talk to witnesses and interrogate suspects.

    One thing that gets the Thai police moving is money. If you are willing to donate some baht, they will work harder. This is often a problem as the payer seems to get preferential treatment and this practice can lead to a false arrest because the police are trying to please a customer rather than truly solving the case.
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