Special Report: Police protection for MP candidates prior to the election


Violence seems to increase during the election campaign period and this has prompted the police to step up their security and develop measures to raise safety standards for political candidates and the Thai people. The number of MP candidates seeking police protection has been growing by the day. This has indicated that the scale of violence has intensified as the election is approaching.

More than any elections ever taken in the Thai history, the Thai Royal Police has decided to devise a new strategy and increase the ability of police units in protecting MP candidates during this period.

Under the new strategy, everyone in the police force will be responsible for the protection of each MP. The ratio would be 2 police men per 1 candidate. One police officer will be walking in front of the candidate while the other one will be walking behind the person. This method is said to protect candidates against objects thrown at them while they are meeting local residents.

A bigger ratio of 6 to 1 will be used in a larger event such as at political venues to prevent possible violence against the candidates. Investigating units will gather intelligence information prior to the political campaign before police forces are deployed. Candidates will be accompanied during the whole trip of their campaign.

Head of the Royal Thai Police, Pol Gen Wichean Potposri, said according to the primary assessment over the situation in various constituencies where supports for two political parties or more are similar, it has been found that over 200 candidates have already sought police protection. According to Pol Gen Wichean, there are 3 levels of safety with each under a different police protection.

There are currently 28 constituencies which have been declared the biggest threat to the candidates while 6 other areas are still under watch and 3 more are receiving special protection. There are altogether 37 constituencies across the nation being protected.

The Police Chief further added that so far violence seems to increase as the election campaigns progress. Following the gun attack on political canvassers from the Democrat and the Pheu Thai Parties in several provinces, Pol Gen Wichean said police investigation had been carried out continuously particularly during the 3 days before the election. This includes suspected gunmen and other violence instigators. Targets of gun attacks include Mr. Pracha Prasobdee, a former Pheu Thai MP, Mr. Jaroen Jaesaman, a Democrat political canvasser and two others in Northern provinces.