The Royal Thai Police Office announced that at least 1,200 road checkpoints will be up and running to curb drink-driving, while local police will rein in COVID-19 spreaders, during the Songkran festival next week.
National police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk chaired a meeting of senior officers to discuss safety measures during next week’s long Songkran weekend at RTP headquarters on Monday.
He said the goal was to reduce traffic accidents during the holiday, one of the year’s busiest travel periods, by at least 5% from figures recorded over the last three years.
Pol Gen Jangyodsuk said the meeting was attended by more than 1,400 superintendents and officers from the Immigration Bureau, the Highway Police, Border Patrol officers and Tourist Police.
In addition to traffic safety, measures will be implemented to prevent and contain the spread of COVID-19 during the holiday, he said.
Of particular concern are people trying to enter the country illegally who may also carry the virus and who may go on to be hired as workers in tourist destinations or night entertainment venues.
Pol Gen Jangyodsuk admitted COVID-19 will complicate police efforts to maintain peace and order during the Songkran celebrations.
The national police chief said superintendents in border areas were instructed to come up with ways to stem illegal entry.
Police stations nationwide are also ordered to ensure there was sufficient manpower to handle traffic duties during the festival.
The aim is to meet the government’s target of reducing traffic accidents by 5% from figures recorded over the last three years.
Pol Gen Jangyodsuk said the police will be enforcing regulations under the emergency decree, which has been extended yet again until the end of next month, to contain the transmission of COVID-19.
He reiterated previous warnings that a ban on water splashing and foam parties would be enforced for the sake of public health.
However, the traditional rod nam dam hua (seeking blessings from the elderly) ceremonies are exempt, although participants must strictly follow health safety measures.
Meanwhile, at least 3.5 million people are expected to head to the provinces from the capital between 9th-11th April and return to Bangkok from 15th-18th April, according to Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas, a deputy national police chief.
More people are likely to travel during this year’s Songkran festival than at New Year because of the longer holiday, he said.
A total of 1,200 roadside checkpoints will be set up to catch drink drivers, while 1,700 others will be manned to enforce other traffic regulations.
The RTP also announced it will continue a service begun several years ago where people can register to have police conduct regular security patrols outside their homes while they are away during the Songkran holiday.