A critique of the internal complaints system of the Thai police


ผศ.ดร.ติญทรรศน์ ประทีปพรณรงค์, ศาสตราจารย์Richard Young


Policing and Society: An International Journal of Research and Policy


One of the ways in which the police can be held accountable for their actions is through an effective system for handling police complaints and misconduct cases. In this paper, the internal complaints system of the Thai police force is critically evaluated on the basis of an original empirical study. The findings suggest that the system is ineffective primarily because the handling of complaints and misconduct cases lacks impartiality. It is demonstrated that the police cannot be trusted to investigate themselves. Notably, a number of tactics are employed by the police to undermine the complaints-handling process, including the use of financial incentives and corrupt favours. The findings of this study indicate further that the lack of impartiality is exacerbated by the political context within which the Thai police work, the patronage system within and beyond the police force, and the police’s authoritarian approach to law enforcement.