Policing, Security Reforms Promised for 2009

After bestowing the rank of bri­gadier general on 12 provincial police chiefs for their service in 2008, Na­tional Police Commissioner Neth Savoeun pledged Monday to reform commune-level policing and border security in 2009.

During the annual ceremony at the Interior Ministry to review the previous year of law enforcement and plans for the coming year, Neth Savoeun said the “hard work” of 12 police chiefs had earned them the rank of a one-star general, which was awarded by royal decree.

But the police force must open itself to reforms this year, said Neth Savoeun, who took up the top police post in November following the death of former commissioner Hok Lundy.

Neth Savoeun added that one such reform would be establishing telephone hotlines to take complaints at municipal and provincial police headquarters.

“National police will check up on the situation of the network and system of administrative police across the country,” he said at the event attended by about 450 security officials.

In addition, Neth Savoeun said, boxes have been set up at all 76 commune police stations in Phnom Penh to accept comments and criticism from local residents.

While the system is still in its trial phase, Neth Savoeun said he plans to expand it into all 24 provinces in 2009.

Villagers must provide more feedback to both commune police and border police about illegal activities to help improve security, Neth Savoeun said.

“We have to strengthen the border police and provide them reasonable uniforms, camp equipment, training…and we also need participation from villagers,” he said.

Interior Minister Sar Kheng also said at the ceremony that he will be focusing on improving border security by improving the lines of communication between “all parties involved.”

“National police have joined to successfully defend the border and crack down on terrorism, especially international terrorism, crime and human trafficking,” Sar Kheng said during the ceremony.

Preah Vihear provincial police chief Mao Pov, one of the 12 newly named brigadier generals, later said by telephone that he was encouraged by the ceremony to work harder in the coming year.

“I promise to keep the security for the people and especially to join to keep the security for the council election on May 17,” he said.

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