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36-member police reform committee set up

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has signed an order to set up a 36-member police reform committee, chaired by former supreme commander Gen Boonsrang Niampradit, with approval from the cabinet.

Speaking after the cabinet meeting on Tuesday (July 5), Gen Prayut said that since Section 260 of the constitution prohibits a police officer from being chairman, he has appointed Gen Boonsrang to head the committee.

Gen Prayut said Gen Boonsrang is a former supreme commander, a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and a doctorate degree holder.

Since Gen Boonsrang was his former instructor, Gen Prayut said he upholds high respect for him and will not interfere in his work.

Gen Boonsrang admitted Tuesday (July 4) that reforming the police force is not an easy task and the 10-month timeframe given to his committee to do the job is quite short, given the magnitude of the problems associated with the police.

He said since he was entrusted by the cabinet to do the job of reforming the police, he would do the best he could, noting that the public has been expecting for police reform for a long time.

He assured that he would do the job straightforwardly and would not afraid of any people because he was entrusted the job and he must accomplish it.

Ask why a military officer was appointed to reform the police, the ex-supreme commander said that it was quite a normal practice for someone outside an organization to reform that organization.

If you appoint police officers to reform the police, what will be reformed? he asked.

Gen Boonsrang said that he would consult and seek opinions from the police as well as all stake holders in doing his job.

General Boonsrang was a former classmate of Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan at Class 6 of Military Preparatory School and an engineering instructor of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha at the Chulachomklao Military Academy.

Apart from Gen Boonsrang, the police reform committee will have 35 other members, who comprise five ex-official members, 15 non-police members and 15 police officers.

Gen Prayut said he has had the full list of the members. However, the names on the list can be changed and additional members can be appointed.

The committee will be responsible for working out police reforms regarding the organisation, personnel and law governing the police force. It has nine months to complete its assignments, he said.

The prime minister said the police reforms will be gradually carried out, with an aim to restore public confidence in the police force.

He expected the committee to take opinions from the people in general for consideration.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said position-buying prevention would be the first job of this committee.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)