Men of Discipline – The Thai Police Force
Thai police officers have been banned from wearing sunglasses while performing their duties because such accessories are deemed inappropriate, according to Pol Maj-General Panurat Lakboon, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB).
The ban, ordered by deputy police chief Pol General Chalermkiat Srivorakhan, is in addition to national police chief Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda’s previous statement that officers on duty must dress properly and have short haircuts in line with Prime Minister’s Office regulations regarding civil servant uniforms and hairstyles.
Panurat’s memo about the sunglasses ban also noted that police supervisors at all levels must also adhere to the rule as a good example to subordinates.
Despite his personnel opinion that officers performing duties in strong sunlight might need to wear sunglasses to maximise their efficiency, Panurat said officers must follow the policy strictly.
Chakthip’s policy on haircuts, which was reiterated on December 14 and January 30, led to random inspections last month, which found 40 MPB officers in Satun, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Phang Nga breaking the rule and being ordered to make appropriate changes.
The discovery also prompted MPB commissioner Lt-General Charnthep Sesawet to threaten subordinates with disciplinary punishment if they failed to keep their hair short and supervisors with official reprimands if they failed to keep subordinates “under control”.
In the December 14 order, in addition to requiring officers to have short haircuts to reflect an image of “men of discipline”, Chakthip also required uniformed officers on duty to avoid expressing “inappropriate attitudes in public” such as standing with arms crossed, placing hands in pockets, leaning against a wall, placing hands on hips, sitting cross-legged and using rude or offensive words when addressing members of the public.
The strict dress code and disciplined posture would be part of police officers’ annual evaluations, while other measures would be implemented to promote disciplined behaviour, according to the policy.
A Bangkok office worker in her 30s, who asked not to be named, said police should not impose a ban on sunglasses as such a “petty” regulation could affect traffic police duties.
“Police directing traffic stand in the sun for hours and are constantly hit by the glare from passing vehicles. They should be allowed to wear sunglasses,” she said.
However, she agreed with the “proper” police uniform and short haircut policies because those measures “reflected good police discipline”.