New Takeo police chief ordered to get tougher on crimes

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
National Police chief Neth Savoeun presides over the inauguration of the new Takeo provincial police chief on Wednesday. NATIONAL POLICE

National Police chief Neth Savoeun has instructed the new Takeo provincial police chief to provide better security for residents and especially to crack down on drug ringleaders and crimes along the Cambodian-Vietnamese border.

The instructions came on November 24 during a ceremony where Phnom Penh municipal deputy police chief Chheang Phannara was inaugurated as Takeo provincial police chief, replacing Sok Samnang who has now been appointed deputy head of the General Department of Identification under the Ministry of Interior.

“In order to carry out this role and its duties successfully, the new police chief must foresight to predict where interventions will be necessary on matters like controlling Covid-19, traffic offences, drugs and cross-border crime,” Savoeun said.

He also instructed the new police chief to accomplish five goals, the first of which is to provide strong leadership by taking ultimate responsibility for what occurs on his watch.

The chief must be a guardian and leader that builds feelings of loyalty and duty within his department and become a role model who consistently responds whenever duty calls, Savoeun said.

Secondly, he said the chief must uphold security, safety and order for all of the people in the entire province.

Third, the chief must help improve essential services and be conscientious about all administrative paperwork while making sure his officers perform their duties honestly, unconditionally and responsibly without requiring bribes to do their jobs.

Fourth, the chief must work to improve the quality of his police officers as a force by instilling within them discipline, virtue and ethics so that they will make an effort in training and especially with learning new skills during the pandemic.

And fifth, the chief must create a sense of unity – both internally as well as cooperating with training under the umbrella of the national government and interior ministry – in order to successfully implement the safe village-commune policy.

Phannara told The Post that it was his honour to serve the people of Takeo as their police chief and that he would work hard to improve the effectiveness of his department, especially regarding border protection and crimes by cultivating good relations with their Vietnamese counterparts.

“I will work to strengthen security and safety and improve the skills and capacity of our officers. In terms of immediate law enforcement goals, first I am planning to crack down on drug activity here and also to start working on Takeo’s traffic situation,” he said.

He said he would do that initially by removing or scaling back the province’s traffic checkpoints, which are ineffective when kept in place all the time without any specific reason and were causing the public to resent his officers because of delays.

Phannara also said he would be meeting with the border guards and Vietnamese officials as soon as possible to coordinate on cross-border crimes.

“I will inspect the border and meet with the border guards to get a handle on preventing border crimes such as human trafficking or drugs smuggling,” he said.

Yun Phally, provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said that in the past, despite having the authority to crack down on a range of criminal activity at the border, there was still poor performance by the police regarding illegal gambling and some drug crimes.

However, Phally said it was too soon to judge whether the new chief would fulfill his promises and he hoped that he would follow through and close these gaps in enforcement and improve the safety of Takeo residents.