In anticipation of today’s 74th anniversary of the National Police, law enforcement officers from around the Kingdom yesterday highlighted its achievements.
Lieutenant General Chhay Kim Khoeun, spokesman for the National Police, said that despite a five percent increase in crimes in 2018 compared to 2017, National Police have done their job well.
“On average, our success rate has been at 87 percent [for solving crimes] in some provinces, while in Kampong Chhnang and Preah Sihanouk we have been 100 percent successful,” Lt Gen Kim Khoeun said, noting that a detailed report will be released today.
He said that Interior Minister Sar Kheng and National Police chief General Neth Savoeun are expected to preside over an anniversary ceremony, and that hundreds of senior government officials and high-ranking police officers are expected to attend.
San Chey, executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, yesterday said some National Police officers still need to improve their performance.
“When we look at their factors related to performance, such as response time, character, recruitment, and promotions, they are still being criticised by the public,” Mr Chey said. “We still hear negative information regarding their immorality.”
He said that the National Police should reorganise in order to improve their performance.
“The most important thing is security and the prevention of drugs,” Mr Chey said. “With so many drug cases, the eyes of the public are on whether the police are actively doing their job or not.”
“Whether the crime rate increases or decreases, that’s part of their job,” he added.
To this, Lt Gen Kim Khoeun said police officers are doing their best to serve the people.
“We have spent most of our private time to ensure safety and security for people,” he said.
Colonel Nhet Poan, a Preah Sihanouk police officer, yesterday said public criticism about police officers in the Kingdom has been noted.
“We have seen the public criticise our work, and we are trying our best to solve issues for the people,” Col Poan said. “If people are happy, then we are happy, too.”
The National Police was founded during the Japanese occupation of the Kingdom.
In August 2016, King Norodom Sihamoni issued a royal decree officiating May 16, 1945 as the birth date of the National Police. Five months later, the Interior Ministry organised its 62nd anniversary to be celebrated the following May.
The National Police is highlighted by Aseanpol, a regional police association. In a report, Aseanpol said Cambodia became its 10th member in 2000.
It said during the era of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia had no national police force, and that it was only after the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1979 that the National Police began operating again.
“In 1979, there were 45 persons at the ministry [national] level and about 10 at the municipality,” the Aseanpol report said. “In 1986, […] the number of personnel increased to 36,038 throughout the country.”
Additionally, during its anniversary in 2015, the National Police launched its own daily newspaper, a 12-page coloured publication that reported mostly on crime, activities of senior police officials and its achievements.
The anniversary celebration today follows a two-year hiatus. Last year and in 2017, celebrations were halted due to the commune election and the general election.
Last year, Prime Minister Hun Sen issued a three-page statement calling on the National Police to ensure peace during the election period. He also urged police officers to vote.
“The National Police has the duty to ensure peace for our people, police officers must fulfil their duties to vote on July 29,” Mr Hun Sen said.
According to a National Police statement yesterday, the theme for today’s celebration is “tradition and bravery”. It said that police officers have sacrificed their lives throughout generations.
“May 16 is the day we remember the achievement of His Majesty the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk,” the statement said.
“Officers sacrifice everything in order to maintain security, public order and safety,” it added. “We also participate in the prevention of a colour revolution. We will ensure safety during strikes and demonstrations, while preventing terrorism and transnational crimes.”