Promoting police integrity in Thailand

UNODC supports national institutions in ASEAN to prevent corruption and promote integrity of all criminal justice actors     

Posted on 11 January 2019.

 The Immigration Bureau of the Royal Thai Police has developed a campaign to prevent corruption at the airport in October 2018


Bangkok, 17-18 December 2018. 'Law enforcement agencies represent an important segment of the executive branch, with their main role being to serve as protectors of citizens, of public order, and of national security. At the same time, police officers are vulnerable to be recruited by transnational organized crime networks, and they have to uphold the higher standards of accountability and integrity' highlighted Mr. Julien Garsany, Deputy Regional Representative, UNODC Regional Office for Southeast-Asia and the Pacific, at the National workshop on Promoting Integrity and Preventing Corruption in the Police in Thailand. This workshop was jointly organized by the Royal Thai Police, the Office of Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on 17-18 December 2018 in Bangkok.

In setting international standards for policing, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, setting out guidelines and principles for law enforcement agencies around the world. These guidelines include the principle to not commit any act of corruption. The Code and its Guidelines also emphasize the key drivers in the institutionalization of police integrity, including: the selection, education and training of law enforcement officials; their salaries; their working conditions; their discipline and supervision; and the need for mechanisms for the receipt and processing of complaints by citizens. UNODC works with police departments in several countries to uphold and support the implementation of these standards and guidelines.

According to Mr. Wasboonma, DSG of the Office of the Ombudsman of Thailand 'the Code of Ethics of the police in Thailand is very well detailed, but not well applied in practice: amongst the 3,000 complaints we received this year, most of them are addressed to police officers', he highlighted, adding that 'among these, hundreds of cases are related to corruption'. In comparison, in Hong-Kong in 2018, 'only 7% of corruption complaints are against police officers' noted Ms. Amy Lam, Senior Superintendent of Complaints and Internal Investigations Branch, Hong-Kong Police. Integrity management, recruitment, strong leadership, reporting mechanisms, appropriate policies and risk-based approach are among the best practices discussed during the workshop with the representatives from the Australian Commission for Police Integrity and UNODC experts, sharing their experiences with the Thai participants. Various tools to promote ethics and integrity in public sector institutions were also presented during the workshop.

Discussing strategies for promoting institutional integrity and handling police misconduct, participants from the Royal Thai Police, the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission, the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand and the Office of the Ombudsman, and other law enforcement agencies identified a series of strategies to promote police integrity in Thailand. UNODC will continue to support national institutions in Thailand to implement the strategies identified.