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Phuket police want more chopper crime stoppers

Phuket's Volunteer Police Plan to Fight Crime

Friday, August 15, 2008
Friday TRENDS

HELICOPTERS, bicycles, CCTV and an extensive system of volunteers form part of the police plan being developed now to improve security and safety on Phuket.

Volunteers are likely to be seen soon working with police on traffic duty, with two volunteers and a policeman in control at larger intersections.

The new police headquarters being erected in Phuket City will from October become an island policing centre where officers can monitor CCTV camera images beamed from the beachfronts of Patong, Kata, Karon, Bang Tao and Surin.

Phuket's Chief of Police, General Apirat Hongtong, admits there is concern about present levels of crime and the potential this might have to alarm tourists.

Back on Phuket for two months, General Apirat is in the process of refining his plan to deliver on his promise of ''zero crime.''

His policing ideal is based on providing five Ses for Phuket: sea, sun, sand, security and service.

''We have the brains to think through the right approach but we also need the right equipment and manpower,'' he said.

''Some police on the island need to improve their attitudes,'' he said. ''That is going to take a little time.''

Phuket needed three helicopters so police could more easily track what was happening from the sky, especially immediately after a crime when a getaway was in progress.

The helicopters would be small and ''no more expensive than a Mercedes,'' he said. At present, Phuket police have one helicopter.

Do you have a suggestion for Phuket police? Have your say now in the Comment box below.


He agreed with a suggestion from Phuketwan that trained volunteers might help police move from controlling traffic to controlling crime.

The part-timers, mostly drawn from resort staff, would receive a week's training before becoming ''Front Office Volunteers,'' he said.

Young police on bicycles at the beachfronts could also more effectively demonstrate a police presence, he said.

The bicycle squads would also be three-person squads with each officer working with two volunters.

''I will work 24 hours and sleep in the car on the way to different police stations to make sure the job gets done,'' he said.

Questioned about allegations that foreigners sometimes struggled to get justice, he said that expat residents and tourists were entitled to be treated in the same way as Thais under Thai law.

There was no discrimination and any officers who thought differently would not last long under his command, he said.

Educating staff from resort reception on reading passports was important, he said. This process has begun with Immigration and police combining resources.

General Apirat made the point others have made, that his force of little more than 1000 police had to provide security for 320,000 registered Thai citizens, about the same number of unregistered citizens, 100,000 illegal and legal guest workers, and five million tourists.

The activities of a professional killer on the island triggered interest from senior police in Bangkok and led to a tightening of security at the Tatchatchai checkpoint this week.

General Apirat said the system of reporting crimes within the police forced needed to be much faster than it is now, so the pursuit of criminals could be undertaken in a comprehensive way across the whole island.

General Apirat has decided to ask the tourists directly what they want in the way of security and is hoping to have a system where they can comment on a form as they depart from Phuket airport.

Phuket Checkpoint Summit on Security

Comeback Police Chief Promises Crime Free Phuket

Triathlon Running Hot

AN INDICATION that better times may be ahead for Phuket next high season comes with the announcement that the Laguna Phuket Triathlon 2008 has sold out within three months of registration opening.

Now in its fifteenth year, the event on December 7 promises to be the best so far with 750 individuals and 40 to 50 teams participating, amounting to a field size of 900.

This year's event has support from Thai Airways International and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

PEOPLE In Transit

Kurt Rufli is retiring as the Managing director of Amari Hotels and Resorts.''I was blessed with good owners, the Karnasuta and Charanachitta families,'' he said. ''Their confidence and support enabled my team and I to develop Amari as a recognised hotel group, with 17 hotels in Thailand today, from the lone Nipa Lodge Hotel, Pattaya, in 1972.'' Peter Henley is to be Mr Rufli's successor from October 6. His track record includes Holiday Inn, Raffles, and Morgan Stanley.

Look for
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every day, Monday to Friday, at Phuketwan. It's essential reading. To tell us your news, email bigislandmedia@gmail.com or telephone 081 6513489.

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Comments

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Volunteer police could certainly help officers at traffic intersections. Waving doesn't look too hard. And when VIPs come to town, Harley Davidson riders could provide an escort from the airport to show what a hip and happening place Phuket has become.

Posted by angelfire on August 15, 2008 11:12

gravatar

What the Tourist Police of Thailand really needs to learn is how to speak good English and must know how to make a police report in English. How can we say that there will be no discrimination if the arresting officer can not even investigate the foreign complainant properly? The police report also must be in English. Or at least, it should be written in English and Thai . . . and this is what we can really say is fair treatment. I'd been a Tourist Police for 5 yrs at the Tourism Philippines but I am a Thai national. I am a retired Policewoman from the Philippines. I'm willing to offer my knowledge in my specialty area. Law enforcers must really know how to handle tourist problem. This is just my opinion.

Posted by Lolita Ligutan on August 17, 2008 20:32


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