‘Big Joke’ accompanies police chief to inspect Pattaya’s ‘smart’ security systems

National Police Chief Suwat Jangyodsuk hands out face masks during his visit to check the development of Pattaya’s Smart Safety Zone 4.

Former immigration commissioner Pol. Lt. Gen. Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn checked on the development of Pattaya’s Smart Safety Zone 4.0, which seeks to harness CCTV cameras, social media and mobile apps to prevent crime.

Flanked by a large police contingent, the current advisor to National Police Chief Suwat Jangyodsuk, Surachate toured Pattaya’s streets and beaches, all of which fall under the safety zone, which covers a 10-kilometer distance from downtown Pattaya.

The Smart Safety Zone is a follow-up to Pattaya’s previously “dumb” Safety Zone, which covered Walking Street and Pattaya Beach where Pattaya police increased foot patrols.

The “smart” zone focuses on protecting people “by using innovation, technology, and electronic strategies” to prevent crimes, Surachate told the media.

The heart of the program is Pattaya’s existing Control Command Operations Center which monitors 190 CCTV cameras – only some of which work. Police officials said engineers recently repaired cameras throughout Pattaya and Jomtien Beach.

Former immigration commissioner Pol. Lt. Gen. Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn (center) holds a meeting at Pattaya Police station, one of 15 Smart Safety Zone 4.0 pilot projects.

Another electronic link is the growing number of “SOS poles” on Jomtien Beach where those in need of police can push a red button for an emergency report and summon an officer to the location.

Of course, what system in Thailand wouldn’t be complete without a barrage of Line message app accounts and groups? The smart zone has a police account and a group for banks and gold shops to report crimes and suspicious characters as well as another group for Pattaya’s 44 communities.

Also included in the program is the Pattaya Police’s Facebook page.

Then come the mobile apps: “Police Lert U,” which warns of traffic, weather and other problems, “Police 4.0” to obtain assistance and information, and “Crimes Online” through which police reports can be filed.

Other goals include developing community watch programs and allowing crime witnesses and victims to make their reports via video chat.

Finally, the safety zone will be patrolled by police drones.

Pol. Lt. Gen. Surachate “Big Joke” Hakparn.