New Police Commissioner Wants Happy Officers

Police Checkpoint

Pol Lt Gen Samran Nualma, the newly-appointed commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) has attached great importance to human resource development, coming up with a slogan “happy personnel succeed at work”.

He was a star in Class 50 at the Royal Police Cadet Academy in Nakhon Pathom’s Sam Phran district, of which several graduates now hold important posts at the police force.

Given the progress in his career path, he stands a good chance of taking the helm at the Royal Thai Police in the future.

At 49, Pol Lt Gen Nualma was considered relatively young to become a police lieutenant general and be put in charge of the MPB.

However, some of his predecessors were also in charge of the MPB at a similarly young age or even younger, such as former national police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda who became MPB chief at the same age.

Newly-appointed Metropolitan Police Bureau commissioner, Pol Lt Gen Samran Nualma, says illicit drugs are a gateway to other crimes. Wassayos Ngamkham

Born in Phetchaburi’s Cha-am district, Pol Lt Gen Nualma finished high school locally and had his sights set on becoming a police officer.

It is said that serving as either a police officer or a soldier are the most two popular careers for residents in Phetchaburi.

Pol Lt Gen Nualma went on to study at the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School before choosing to study at the police cadet academy.

After graduation, he worked as a trainee at the Bang Na police station before he was made an investigator at Phra Khanong station.

He was moved to Thong Lor station until he was appointed a police major working as a patrol inspector at the Patrol and Special Operations Division, better known as the 191 Police.

He rose through the ranks to become commander of the 191 Police where he served for two years before he was appointed the MPB deputy commissioner last year and then took charge at the MPB. Pol Lt Gen Nualma has placed stress on developing the capabilities of police personnel and bringing out the best in them.

When he was in charge of the 191 Police unit, officers there were well trained in tactical operations to deal with and capture offenders, particularly those involved in drug cases in Bangkok as he saw drug trafficking as the source of many crimes, including petty street crimes. “Illicit drugs are a key precursor of other crimes. We need to stop drugs to curb the perpetration of other crimes,” he said.

He also stressed the need to think out of the box when it comes to tackling the drug problem. He said drug-takers should not be prosecuted but should be put through rehabilitation instead.

“This will help reduce demand for drugs. We can then expand our investigation to arrest major drug dealers and seize their drug-related assets.

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“Currently, we have more than 300,000 prisoners. Of them, almost 200,000 are drug convicts. It is no use putting them in jail. They should be questioned so police can track down major drug dealers. Many are ready to give information if they are exempt from prosecution,” Pol Lt Gen Nualma said.

Attaching importance to the welfare of his subordinates, Pol Lt Gen Nualma recounted that when he was a police chief at Don Muang police station, it won the top award under the MPB’s “police station for people” project.

“I saw to it that officers there were well-fed and looked after properly. I bonded with them and ate with them. I slept mostly at the station during my two-year stint. So, I knew what the officers were like. The station under me rose from the 40th rank to the top rank under the MPB,” Pol Lt Gen Nualma said.

Commenting on criticism that he is young but was still chosen for the top MPB job over others more senior, he said that he actually sees his youth as an advantage.

“Being a younger officer makes older officers feel comfortable to present their opinions and I am ready to listen. We speak as brothers,” he said.

“This is an opportunity for me as someone younger to listen to them. I told them that they can criticise me behind closed doors. But when we are outside, these are the order of the MPB commissioner. I get this straight and they understand. This is not a crisis but an opportunity,” he said.

Addressing the issue of the MPB’s manpower, Pol Lt Gen Nualma said the MPB has a total of 31,878 job positions. But only 21,020 are filled and the rest remain vacant.

Technically, one officer takes care of about 230 residents in Bangkok, though the number does not include migrants and foreign tourists.

Therefore, one MPB officer actually has to take care of about 500 people in the capital, compared to a ratio of 1:200 in the United States, he said.

In light of this, he said he will not come up with unnecessary projects to increase the burden on his subordinates so they can concentrate fully on the tasks at hand.

He said it is important to boost the morale of police to ensure they can be content, given the slogan “happy personnel succeed at work”. Officers must also be capable of dealing with criminals efficiently so people can live normal and happy lives.

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