Ordering an investigation of police corruption on Tuesday, Co-Minister of Interior Sar Kheng accused some Phnom Penh police officers of working with criminals to commit crimes.
Sar Kheng also said that some unprofessional police officers exaggerate reports that are sent to the court and even reverse the roles of criminals and victims, bringing suspicion of wrongdoing on the innocent.
“Sometimes the law enforcement officers support the thieves. I know there have been some cases in Phnom Penh. They support the thieves,” Sar Kheng told provincial officials and police chiefs participating in the Interior Ministry’s annual two-day conference.
“Anywhere that the same crimes happen repeatedly, our police must be inspected,” Sar Kheng said.
His comments come amid an unprecedented series of arrests of capital police officials suspected in the killings of a judge and of a suspect in police detention.
Charges of attempting to kill a court prosecutor and the National Military Police Commander Sao Sokha have also been laid against several of the same officers.
Sar Kheng said that these violations come against the backdrop of rising crime.
Serious crimes such as rape, armed robbery and drug crimes are on the rise, with approximately 500 more cases in 2005 than in the previous year, Sar Kheng said, without revealing the total number.
In an attempt to reverse the trend, the ministry is planning to create new schools to educate and train police officers, Sar Kheng said.
Kratie and Battambang provinces will likely see new police schools, and former Khmer Rouge commander Ta Mok’s house in Takeo province will also be converted into a regional school to train police officers before they advance to higher courses.
The National Police School in Kandal province will also be converted into the Academic School of National Police over the next two years, Sar Kheng added.
“Training in skills is not yet connected to education to improve the ethics, morality and work behavior [of police officers], which can affect the trust and support of the public,” Sar Kheng said. “Morality, ability and loyalty are very important.”