Meet the new generation of police cadets in Thailand, committed to promoting integrity and fighting corruption

The best place to start working on police integrity and ethics is with the new generation of police officers. The UNODC is working with the Police Academy of the Royal Thai Police (RPCA) to make sure the cadets are a force for positive changes in and institutions plagues by scandals and perceived to be affected by entranced corruption. In July 2022, UNODC and the RCPA organized a Workshop on Promoting Integrity and Ethics for the Royal Police Cadet Academy in Phuket, Thailand. The event gathered 49 cadets from the RPCA, We had the opportunity to speak with some of them to gather their thoughts and impressions. We would like to share their positive vibes with you below!

Pol.Sub.Lt. Thitipat Sukumoljan or Tan shared with us that he felt honoured and was very pleased to be a part of this workshop. He said that a career as a police officer is seen as providing many benefits in line with the job duties. Furthermore, Tan believes that it is imperative for police officers to possess virtue, ethical, and moral principles, and to enforce the law in a fair manner. To this end, he feels that the knowledge and ideas gained from the workshop can be shared and adopted, not just on an individual level, but also within the unit to promote positive culture change within the organization.

Tan also added his three key takeaways from this workshop, which are:

  • Realization: This workshop raised awareness and helped Tan to realize and develop a better understanding of corruption problems that occur, not only negatively affecting individuals or organizations, but also having unforeseen consequences on the socioeconomic wellbeing or quality of life of a country’s population.
  • Self-immune: There may be times when we are inevitably involved in corruption, which occur as common practice because “anybody does it.” Therefore, it is important to learn about the problem, find better solutions, and strengthen our immunity from making wrong choices. If a poor decision is made once, it is likely to happen again.
  • Take action: Although we would like others to act with honesty, morality, and ethics, this process cannot begin without first embodying these characteristics ourselves. Thus, “adjust the rudder,” head in the right direction, and start taking positive action.

Tan also expressed his determination to change the public perception of corruption in policing. He reiterated at the end of the talk that he wants to change the mentality from, "Anybody does it" (misconduct) to "Everyone likes justice.” He believes this could enhance public trust in the police.

The second police cadet we spoke with is Pol.Sub.Lt. Nattapond Pumkrajang or Mile.

Mile shared that, as a Thai citizen who has heard about corruption problems all her life, this workshop was the first time she had the opportunity to seriously discuss corruption. She added that learning from the qualified and talented speakers makes this seminar seem like a spark of hope to begin solving corruption problems. This includes not only implementing solutions to the causes of corruption, but also addressing the many factors related to the root of the problem, and how it affects people's lives.

She also said that this workshop gave her deeper insight into the problem of corruption because even though corruption is a big issue, it is often overlooked. The complexity involved in resolving corruption has resulted in many parties turning their backs on the problem entirely.

Mile said that, if there is corruption, there will inevitably be people affected, and it will negatively affect public trust in the State. In particular, the image of justice organizations will be shaken, as corruption reflects the failure of the State and the justice system.

Honesty is, therefore, an important aspect of problem-solving as it is something that can be cultivated and does not necessarily take time to create. Mile believes that, when we choose to be honest and act honestly, the consequences of this choice are apparent immediately without the passage of time. The key principle in Mile’s philosophy is the awareness of human dignity and empathy, because this awareness and empathy reduces selfishness. As a result of embodying these values, corruption can be reduced accordingly.

This seminar also led Mile to learn how to solve corruption problems abroad, whether through creative activities, campaigns, creating tools, or using technology to solve problems. All of these are helpful solutions and provide a wide range of ideas to tackle corruption effectively.

In the end, Mile said that she intends to be a good role model as a person, and act honestly as a law enforcer. At the same time, she feels she must stand up against the causes of corruption. In addition, she will share the knowledge gained from this workshop with her personal and professional connections to help fight against corruption.

Then we talked to Pol.Sub.Lt. Chanoknun Tuankam or Bewy.

This seminar was the first training of her life and enlightened her regarding the importance of expressing and discussing ideas like corruption. When all participants discussed the issues at hand, she realized that they were not the only ones who face corruption problems! Indeed, other police officers have had this problem, and everyone has the desire to ​​change their organization for the better.

She felt that the workshop discussions were like igniting a light in the fight against corruption, although these lights only shine on her small group for the moment. However, through the workshop she learned how to ignite this light, which she compares to how the participants learned to tackle corruption on a personal level or through real police experience.

She added that, in the future, when she has the opportunity to teach juniors or people in difficult situations who are faced with stressful decisions that may result in corruption, she will be able to advise them on how to ignite this light. She hopes that if everyone can ignite their own little light, Thailand can finally shine.

Finally, she thanked UNODC, the teachers from the Royal Police Cadet Academy, and all the speakers from various agencies who understand the problems of corruption and organized this kind of workshop for new police cadets. She feels that she has gained both knowledge and experience that can be applied directly to her work. She highlighted that the workshop benefited both her at a personal level and the police organization as a whole.

Other Useful Links:

  • A summary of this workshop on Promoting Integrity and Ethics for the Royal Police Cadet Academy is available on our website here
  • The recent UNODC Webinar on Law Enforcement Integrity is publicly available for viewing in Bahasa, English, Thai and Vietnamese here
  • The footage of UNODC Anti-Corruption Webinars in Southeast Asia, where available, can be viewed on our social media page here