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Budget for police bodycams approved

BANGKOK: The cabinet has approved a budget of about B445 million to purchase bodycams for Royal Thai Police officers. According to new regulations, officers are now required to record their actions while on duty, including interrogation process, traffic control, negotiations.

By The Phuket News

Friday 24 February 2023, 03:27PM

A police officer with a helmet-mounted camera at a checkpoint in Phuket. Photo: The Phuket News (file photo)

A police officer with a helmet-mounted camera at a checkpoint in Phuket. Photo: The Phuket News (file photo)

Government Spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri explained that the Royal Thai Police will be responsible for the procurement of 48,500 cameras, which will be used in crime suppression, road traffic and investigatory works, state news agency NNT reported today (Feb 24).

The budget will also cover cameras used in interrogation rooms as well as police stations, Immigration police offices and police vehicles.

According to the 2022 Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Forced Disappearance Act, which came into force on Wednesday (Feb 22), officers must record images and sounds of the accused at all times. It is therefore necessary to provide cameras for this purpose.

The spokesperson reiterated that the budget will allow police officers to quickly perform their duties to their fullest capacity. He also quoted Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha as stating that the procurement must be conducted in a transparent manner, using traceable procedures.

Anucha said relevant officials – including those from the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defense – must strictly follow the act and related protocols in order to ensure maximum benefits for members of the public.

New checkpoint rules

On Feb 4, national police chief Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas issued new guidelines on conduct at police security checkpoints including a requirement that officers store footage from their body cameras for at least 20 days after recording.

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In reporting the new regulations, the Public Relations Department (PRD) posted a notice saying plainly, “Without Bodycam, do not set a checkpoint”.  

The move followed two accusations of extortion involving police and a Taiwanese actress and her companions in Bangkok, and a Chinese tourist in Pattaya.

As reported by Bangkok Post, the guidelines also require that the nearest police crime report centre be informed of all police security checkpoints set up, such as those in cases of a criminal suspect chase.

In case any such police checkpoint faces an allegation of money extortion or demanding a bribe, not only the police at the checkpoint will be investigated and punished but also their superiors who are responsible for approving the checkpoint, the guideline says.

This appears to match the description of what allegedly happened in Phuket earlier this week, when a German tourist went public about him paying to a police officer on the side of the road without any formal procedures. The officer allegedly took the tourists’s cash.

The unnamed tourist went said that the officer asked him to pay a fine of B5,000 for illegally riding a motorbike through the Chalong Underpass. The sum was then bargained down to B2,000 which the foreigner paid at the scene without any receipt being given to him.

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Kurt | 25 February 2023 - 10:51:07

B9,100 Per camera? And that for a bulk order of 48,500?Minus the 30+% çommissions', it stil looks like they will be made of silver . hahaha. That endless open corruption in Thailand. Wonder what fantasies will be coming up to justify that sometimes the cams are not working. Like: 'Oh, the lense was dirty due to traffic dust at Chalong circle' or 'the lense was still wet of raindro...

Timothy | 25 February 2023 - 09:20:28

If all foreigners wore bodycams that would expose all the scams that we have to face here. Police checks, taxi mafia, immigration, O Bor Tor asking for tea money, jet ski mafia, beach chair mafia, Patong touts, motorbike rentals, mystery drinks appearing on your bar tab, etc etc etc. 

Fascinated | 24 February 2023 - 19:36:22

B9,100 per camera- that's a sweet little earner for someone.


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