Ranariddh: Hun Sen Should Control Police

The National Police should be removed from under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior and be made into an independent body answering only to Prime Minister Hun Sen, National As­sembly President Prince Noro­dom Ranariddh said.

The prince told reporters Tues­day that the National Police is too susceptible to the influences of competing political factions. “The people say the police lack neutrality because they are under the jurisdiction of a ministry,” he said.

Instead, he said, Hun Sen should control the National Po­lice alone, allowing forces to be dispatched quickly in times of crisis. The prince stressed that the prime minister’s control would be strictly technical, and free from politics.

“This is my idea, which I have raised with the prime minister’s consent,” he said. “He told me to hold on to it for a while, but he al­so understands [its importance].”

Prince Ranariddh also suggested that a reorganization of the National Police would encourage foreign assistance from governments that view the current force as politically biased.

Establishing such an independent force would be simple, the prince said. “There is no need to set up a Ministry of Na­tional Security,” thus no need to gain parliamentary ap­proval, he said.

The proposal was greeted with skepticism by some government officials. “It’s impossible,” government spokesman Khieu Kanha­rith said. “Everyone knows the prime minister is a politician.”

If the police were moved from the Interior Ministry, provincial administrations would essentially be left powerless to enforce law and order, Khieu Kanharith said.

A senior Interior Ministry official also questioned how the move would achieve neutrality. If the police were removed from the Interior Ministry’s jurisdiction, the official said, the government would do well to dismantle the Ministry itself and have pro­vincial governors also answer directly to the prime minister.

Others deemed the issue too sensitive to comment. Khieu So­pheak, spokes­man for the Interi­or Ministry, refused comment. “This is too big,” he said. “It is be­yond my comment.” Minister of the In­terior Sar Kheng and Di­rector General of National Police Hok Lundy could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

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