Author Topic: Why it's not easy being a Thai police officer  (Read 665 times)

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Offline thaiga

Why it's not easy being a Thai police officer
« on: April 12, 2016, 07:25:03 PM »
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Why it's not easy being a Thai police officer

Thai police often come in for massive criticism, but investigate a bit deeper and it turns out they work long hours doing a difficult job in dangerous circumstances for scant reward. All they want is a little appreciation from the public

SCARCELY a day goes by that doesn’t see allegations of corruption, laziness, incompetence or other criticism levelled by the media at the Royal Thai Police (RTP), especially in local and international English-language outlets.

While Thai-language newspapers, television, magazines and websites are somewhat more balanced, the overall negative coverage contributes to a prevailing opinion that Thai police have a soft job and are mainly occupied with feathering their own nests. But anyone who takes the time to sit down and talk to some of them soon realizes this is unfair.

No other government agency has to contend with anything like the barrage of negative press that descends on the police on an almost daily basis. We are constantly reminded of bribe-taking by police, but it’s worth remembering that for the average cop this amounts to small sums from motorists in lieu of a traffic ticket. And often it is the motorists who are most eager to make a cash deal on the spot to avoid the inconvenience of having their driving license confiscated and going to the police station to pay a fine.

Contrast this to corruption in the private sector. Graft perpetrated by big corporations is believed to siphon off hundreds of millions of baht from the country’s GDP. We hear precious little in the media about so-called white collar crimes like insider trading, fraud, embezzlement and tax evasion. Corruption in sports on a tremendous scale is also overlooked. Reports of match fixing, doping, gambling and other illegal activities plague sports all around the world, but in general the athletes remain admired and emulated. While some criticism of the police is certainly valid, there is little appreciation of the risks they take and the long, hard hours they work.

A police officer’s job places him or her in the center of surroundings and situations that most people would do anything to avoid. Whenever there is a robbery, assault, shooting, bombing or other violent crime people always look first to the police to find the perpetrators and restore order. They are also on the scene of traffic accidents and disasters such as fires and floods, and they are called on to settle family disputes and even to remove snakes from residences.

But stories that look deeply into the lives and working conditions of ordinary police officers rarely appear in the media unless it is to report on a tragic event like the alleged suicide of Police Captain Tawee Meunrak. The policeman attached to Thung Song Hong police station is believed to have shot himself on January 29 because of work-related stress. Before people take aim from the comfort and safety of their homes at the men and women patrolling Thailand’s meanest streets, they should pause to consider whether their criticism is really warranted.

Police live with the knowledge that every time they put on their uniforms they may be killed or injured in the act of chasing or arresting criminals. Adding to the pressure are rising crime rates brought on by tough economic times which also make the perpetrators more desperate. What’s more, in many cases criminals are well armed and willing to resist and fight the police. One former senior police officer attached to the Pathum Thani provincial police said .................

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Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.