Srettha urges unity in police force with focus on serving the public


Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin on Thursday called for unity in the police force, a day after he transferred the National Police chief and his most senior deputy to inactive posts at the PM’s Office.

Srettha chaired a meeting of senior police commanders from all over the country at the Royal Thai Police headquarters. He was welcomed by acting National Police chief Pol General Kittrat Panphet, whom the PM appointed to the job following the transfer of Pol General Torsak Sukvimol.

Torsak and deputy National Police chief Pol General Surachate Hakparn were transferred to the PM’s Office as per the prime minister’s order issued on Wednesday amidst growing conflicts.

“I ask for unity among all of you. I believe that the Royal Thai Police is aware of the ongoing problem. You have your love for certain colleagues and subordinates, but you should keep that to yourselves. We should better work for the public interest,” the prime minister told the police gathering.

He said the fact-finding committee that he had set up would look into relevant cases and deal with the matter through the justice process. “I don’t side with anyone. We should focus on serving the public. That way, the Royal Thai Police is doing its work with dignity,” the PM said.

It is rare for the two most senior police officers to be sidelined at the same time. The double transfers came after growing conflicts in the police force amidst exchanges of allegations that certain high-ranking officers condoned illegal gambling networks.

Srettha urges unity in police force with focus on serving the public

At the meeting on Thursday, the prime minister also told the participating senior police officers to increase their efforts in dealing with issues that he said had not been tackled well enough. These problems include illegal lending, contraband smuggling, illicit drugs, illegal gambling, illegal firearms and war weapons, forest burning, and illegal tourism businesses.

After the meeting, Srettha told reporters that both Torsak and Surachate should be regarded as innocent at this stage. He said the conflict in the police force should be over now and the police should move on to tackle the problems of narcotics and illegal online gambling.

“Now that the two persons involved have been moved to the Prime Minister’s Office, it’s time to let the justice process do its work. I want to ensure fairness to both sides,” the PM said.
He admitted it was a difficult decision to make in transferring both police generals. “But I needed to do it to bring clarity to society,” he explained.