The government-appointed panel on police reform headed by Boonsrang Niumpradit announced its findings after it held its last meeting recently.
Manich Sooksomchitra, the panel spokesman, told the Bangkok Post that the committee agreed with recommendations by its sub-committee on manpower management that a pay hike be granted to the more than 100,000 police officers nationwide in charge of crime suppression, investigation and traffic.
Mr Manich said that police work generally carries between 13-22 times greater professional risk than comparable civilian jobs.
However, the pay rise proposal was immediately met with public criticism that it would not help with efforts to reform the force.
Mr Manich said the panel’s backing for the pay rise was not based on the premise that it could tackle corruption within the force. The panel has defended the matter as a necessary one as the police have used the same pay scale since 2000.
The panel has assigned the Finance Ministry’s Fiscal Policy Research Foundation to calculate a suitable rate of increment, relative to police forces in other countries.
On March 10, Mr Manich said the foundation suggested that the entry-level position allowance be increased by between B4,300 and B5,000 a month for non-commissioned police tasked with crime suppression duties.
For a commissioned officer with similar duties, the increment should be between B18,500 and B21,500, Mr Manich quoted the foundation as saying.
The panel spokesman said the low pay scale has driven some officers to resort to extortion.
However, he admitted paying them more was no guarantee they would give up the malpractice.
Also, the pay increase is being issued in line with what is stipulated in the constitution, he added.
Gen Boonsrang, meanwhile, said that under the reform proposal a retiring national police officer will nominate candidates from among their deputies or inspector-generals to serve as a successor and forward this to the Police Commission.
The commission will then select one name to be submitted to the prime minister. If he rejects the name, the commission will present another deputy or inspector-general as a candidate from among the choices recommended earlier by the national police chief.
“Although [police reform] may take some time to produce results, things will be better. We have high hopes and we will feel better about this,” Gen Boonsrang said.
Also, the prime minister remains chairman of the National Police Policy Committee, although he is no longer empowered to select national police chief candidates.
Thanit Kesawapitak, head of the sub-panel on law enforcement, said more posts will be added to the inquiry officers’ working units so they have room for higher-echelon promotions. In the past, some positions for inquiry officers were “borrowed” from quotas allocated to investigative units.
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