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Phuket chosen for crime prevention experiment

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET TOWN: The commander of the Royal Thai Police today chaired a meeting at Phuket Town Police Station to discuss a project to make Phuket a model for crime prevention and suppression. If the project, due to start next year, is a success, the lessons learned will be applied to Chiang Mai, Pattaya and Hua Hin, and then to other parts of the country. The emphasis of the project will be on upgrading equipment and developing manpower skills. “We chose Phuket as the location for our pilot project because Phuket is a major regional tourism center,” said Pol Gen Pornsak Durongkavibulya, the Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police. “It brings a lot of income into the country but, at the same time, it is also potentially a magnet for crimes such as international drug running and money laundering. It is also a small area.” The plan sets a number of targets, including: – Making at least 50% of both locals and tourists satisfied with the police; – Decreasing accidents on both land and sea by at least 20% compared with this year; – Setting up closed-circuit television (CCTV) in important areas; – Linking police computers to other relevant networks; – Having the police pick up the phone within 10 seconds or two rings; – Increasing places where people may report crimes from the current 12 to 32 and; – Having the police arrive at crime scenes within three minutes of an emergency call in urban areas, and 10 minutes in rural areas. The pilot project is expected to run until 2002. Of the proposed 625-million-baht budget, only 4.6 million will be allocated to training, and the remainder to buying equipment. “Installing a CCTV system requires heavy investment, but it is worth it because we can use it to reduce traffic problems, to detect crime and to manage important areas better,” said Gen Pornsak. During the meeting, discussion of patrolling methods also threw up the possibility that horseback patrols may be introduced to allow officers to patrol beaches and other places inaccessible to motorcycles or cars.

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