Surge in petty crimes sees 30 police officers transferred

PHUKET: As the island seems to be suffering from a major surge in petty crimes, some 30 police officers have been approved for transfer out of the province in the upcoming annual round of promotions and transfers, on October 1. The main reason put forward by the officers for the transfers: “overworked”.

At his monthly meeting with chief officers on Wednesday, Phuket Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura called for Pol Maj Gen Decha Budnampetch, Commander of the Phuket Provincial Police, to have police step up their patrols and for officers to be more vigilant.

Gov Udomsak said. “[Police] officers should be ready and on the streets so that when a crime is reported, they can respond quickly.”

Governor Udomsak identified Saphan Hin, Rang Hill and Suan Luang Park – all in Phuket City – as three areas where officers needed to be especially vigilant as they are popular places for the public.

He added that petty thefts weren’t the only problem, and that police needed to step up their action against firearms as well. “If [police] find a person with a gun, they need to double check that the person has a license to own that gun, and whether [he or she] is a police officer or not,” he said.

Maj Gen Decha acknowledged that Phuket’s crime rate has increased but defended his officers, saying that they are understaffed. “We have about 1,000 police officers, but there are so many residents and tourists that we are overworked every day,” he said.

He added that police often received reports up to five hours after a crime occured, and that most thefts were being committed by youths under 18 years old, and because of their young age the law does not allow stern punishments.

Maj Gen Decha confirmed that he has approved transfers out of the province for 30 police officers, most of whom cited “overwork” as their reason for wanting such a transfer.

In return, Gen Decha asked the Governor for stricter controls on people using police band radios that members of the force use to communicate with each other.

“Many gangs have walkie-talkies and listen to the police frequency, so they know what we are doing. Many times we have not caught criminals because they have had time to run away,” Maj Gen Decha said.

Phuket News

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