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CCTV helps to monitor the traffic but more police on the beat is what proves effective prevention.

More Police Stations Sought

Sunday, November 25, 2007
PHUKET'S top policeman, Police Major General Pecha Burtnumpetch, has confirmed that the island could use about 50 percent more police based on the number of people living here.

But he would not reveal the current number of police, saying the information was confidential.

The governor of the province was taking the right course of action in trying to increase registration among Thai citizens on the island, and success of this program would eventually give Phuket a larger police force, he said.

He agreed that there were about 320,000 registered citizens on Phuket, with a similar number of Thais from other provinces working here unregistered, and more than four million tourists coming to the island each year.

While the number of regular police was lower than he would like, the major general said the regular police had the support of marine police, tourist police and immigration officers is cases where those groups could supply appropriate assistance.

The major general said he was also trying to gain permission to establish two more police stations on Phuket, taking the number to 10. He would like to establish new stations at Kata-Karon and Vichit.

This would mean having a hundred police at each of the 10 stations, he said.

He agreed the ratio of police to people on Phuket was high, but said this reflected the lack of serious crime and the quality of the people who lived on and visited the island. Economic, social and educational considerations had to be factored in, too.

Yet he added that the ratio was too high, given that in Japan, known as an extremely law-abiding country, there was about one police officer for every 400 people.

Phuket police currently worked in four divisions, with three divisions operating on shift work ?????? 8am-4pm, 4pm-midnight and midnight-8am ?????? and the fourth group supplementing the other three groups as required.

Anyone joining the force has to go through training in Surattani in an annual intake. More advanced training is provided for those with degrees who prove capable of holding commissioned officer positions of second lieutenant and above at a police school in central Thailand.

The problems with insurgents in the southern provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala meant that police had to be sent there from the central region, reducing the opportunity of Phuket to have greater numbers here.

He said hotels and the tourist industry in general gave the police excellent support. One project involved the Evason helping to build a swimming pool for officers and their families at Phuket City police HQ.

Expenditure for such projects were audited and overseen by a committee of community leaders, he said.

Women on the force worked in administrative support and did not share the active roles of the men, he said.

He did not favor a volunteer system being used to supplement the number of regular police because that would make enforcement of standards difficult.

The eight existing police stations are: Phuket City, Kathu, Talang, Chalong, Toongtong, Cherntalay, Tatchatchai and Kamala.

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