Royal Thai Police

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Royal Thai Police
Emblem of Royal Thai Police.png
Official Seal
Coat of Arms of Siam (Royal Thai Police).svg
Coat of Arms (cap badge)
Thai National Police Flag.svg
Flag of the Royal Thai Police
Agency overview
Formed1860 (159 years)
Jurisdictional structure
National agency Thailand
Operations jurisdiction Thailand
General nature
Headquarters Pathum Wan, Bangkok, Thailand

Police officers230,000 [1] [2]
Minister responsible
Agency executive
Regional Bureaus

The Royal Thai Police (RTP) (Thai : ตำรวจแห่งชาติ; RTGS: tamruat haeng chat) is the national police force of Thailand. The RTP employs between 210,700 and 230,000 officers, roughly 17 percent of all civil servants (excluding the military and the employees of state-owned enterprises). [2] [3] The RTP is frequently recognized as the fourth armed force of Thailand since their tradition, concept, culture, skill, and training are relatively similar to the army and most of their officer cadets need to graduate from the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School before entering the Police Academy. Officers also undergo paramilitary training similar to the army but with an additional focus on law enforcement.

Thai language language spoken in Thailand

Thai, Central Thai, is the sole official and national language of Thailand and the first language of the Central Thai people. It is a member of the Tai group of the Kra–Dai language family. Over half of Thai vocabulary is derived from or borrowed from Pali, Sanskrit, Mon and Old Khmer. It is a tonal and analytic language, similar to Chinese and Vietnamese.

The Royal Thai General System of Transcription (RTGS) is the official system for rendering Thai words in the Latin alphabet. It was published by the Royal Institute of Thailand.

Police Law enforcement body

The police are a constituted body of persons empowered by a state to enforce the law, to protect the lives, liberty and possessions of citizens, and to prevent crime and civil disorder. Their lawful powers include arrest and the legitimized use of force. The term is most commonly associated with the police forces of a sovereign state that are authorized to exercise the police power of that state within a defined legal or territorial area of responsibility. Police forces are often defined as being separate from the military and other organizations involved in the defense of the state against foreign aggressors; however, gendarmerie are military units charged with civil policing. Police forces are usually public sector services, funded through taxes.



RPCA officers of Royal Police Cadet Academy Rpcacommander-02.jpg
RPCA officers of Royal Police Cadet Academy
Royal Thai Police headquarters in Pathum Wan District, Bangkok Royal Thai police headquarter.jpg
Royal Thai Police headquarters in Pathum Wan District, Bangkok

Until the 19th century Royal Thai Armed Forces personnel, aside from their duties of national defence, also performed law enforcement duties alongside dedicated civil servants. Responsibility for law and order was divided into the six ministries led by chancellors of state (during the Ayutthaya and Thonburi eras); in time of war, police units were under royal command as part of the army. Only during the reigns of King Mongkut (Rama IV) and King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) did the nation see a huge reform and the Westernization of Thai law enforcement forces to adapt to the changing situation and needs of the country. By 1902, the Royal Police Cadet Academy (RCPA) [4] was founded to train future police officers. In 1915 the provincial and urban police forces were united as one national organization under the Ministry of Interior (established 1894). [5]

Royal Thai Armed Forces military of Thailand

The Royal Thai Armed Forces is the name of the military of the Kingdom of Thailand. It consists of the following branches:

Mongkut Thai king

Mongkut, also known as King Rama IV, reigning title Phra Chom Klao Chao Yu Hua, was the fourth monarch of Siam (Thailand) under the House of Chakri, ruling from 1851 to 1868.

Chulalongkorn King Rama V

Chulalongkorn, also known as King Rama V, reigning title Phra Chula Chom Klao Chao Yu Hua, was the fifth monarch of Siam under the House of Chakri. He was known to the Siamese of his time as Phra Phuttha Chao Luang. His reign was characterized by the modernization of Siam, governmental and social reforms, and territorial concessions to the British and French. As Siam was threatened by Western expansionism, Chulalongkorn, through his policies and acts, managed to save Siam from colonization. All his reforms were dedicated to ensuring Siam's survival in the face of Western colonialism, so that Chulalongkorn earned the epithet Phra Piya Maharat.

Primary responsibility for the maintenance of public order through enforcement of the kingdom's laws was exercised by the Thailand National Police Department (TNPD), a subdivision of the Interior Ministry. Charged with performing police functions throughout the entire country, the TNPD was a unitary agency whose power and influence in Thai national life had at times rivalled that of the armed forces itself.

The formal functions of the TNPD included more than the enforcement of laws and apprehension of offenders. The department also played an important role in the government's efforts to suppress the remnants of the communist insurgency. In the event of an invasion by external forces, much of the police force would come under the control of the Ministry of Defense to serve with, but not be incorporated into, the military forces.[ citation needed ]

Communist insurgency in Thailand guerrilla war that lasted from 1965 to 1983

The Communist insurgency in Thailand was a guerrilla war lasting from 1965 until 1983, fought mainly by the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) and the government of Thailand. The war declined in 1980 following the declaration of an amnesty and by 1983 the CPT had abandoned the insurgency.

Originally modelled on the pre–World War II national police force of Japan, the TNPD was reorganized several times to meet changing public order and internal security needs. American advice, training, and equipment, which were provided from 1951 through the early 1970s, did much to introduce new law enforcement concepts and practices and to aid in the modernization of the TNPD. During this era the strength and effectiveness of the police grew steadily.

Japan Island country in East Asia

Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south.

All components of the police system were administered by the TNPD headquarters in Bangkok, which also provided technical support for law enforcement activities throughout the kingdom. The major operational units of the force were the Provincial Police, the Border Patrol Police (BPP), the Metropolitan Police, and smaller specialized units supervised by the Central Investigation Bureau.

In mid-1987 the total strength of the TNPD, including administrative and support personnel, was estimated at roughly 110,000. Of this number, over one-half were assigned to the Provincial Police and some 40,000 to the BPP. More than 10,000 served in the Metropolitan Police. Quasi-military in character, the TNPD was headed by a director general, who held the rank of police general. He was assisted by three deputy directors general and five assistant directors general, all of whom held the rank of police lieutenant general. Throughout the TNPD system, all ranks except the lowest (constable) corresponded to those of the army. The proliferation of high ranks in the TNPD organizational structure, as in the military, indicated the political impact of the police on national life.[ citation needed ]

In 1998, TNPD was transferred from the Ministry of Interior of Thailand to be directly under the Office of the Prime Minister. It acquired a new name, in English, the "Royal Thai Police" (RTP). The title of its commander was changed from "Director-General of the TNPD" to "Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police".[ citation needed ]

Ministry of Interior (Thailand) important Cabinet-level department in the Government of Thailand

The Ministry of Interior of the Kingdom of Thailand is a cabinet-level department in the Government of Thailand. The ministry has wide ranging responsibilities. The ministry is responsible for local administration, internal security, citizenship, disaster management, road safety, land management, issuance of national identity cards, and public works. The ministry is responsible for appointing the 76 governors of the Provinces of Thailand. The minister of interior is the head of the ministry. He is appointed by the King of Thailand on the recommendation of the prime minister. Since 30 August 2014, the head of the ministry has been retired General Anupong Paochinda. He is aided by two deputy minister. The FY2019 budget of the ministry is 371,802 million baht.

Office of the Prime Minister (Thailand) executive agency in the Government of the Kingdom Thailand

The Office of the Prime Minister is the central executive agency in the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand. It is classified as a cabinet department and is led by a permanent secretary. Its main responsibility is to assist the Prime Minister of Thailand in the role of head of government and chair of the Cabinet of Thailand.


Thailand's police forces number about 230,000 officers. About eight percent (18,400) are female. [6] In the Philippines the percentage of female police officers is 20 percent, 18 percent in Malaysia, and 30 percent, the world's highest percentage of women, in Sweden. [7] Of 8,000 investigators with the RTP, 400 are women. [8]

Females were first admitted to the Royal Police Cadet Academy (RPCA), founded in 1901, in 2009. It has since graduated about 700 female officers. [6] Starting with the class to be admitted for the 2019 academic year, the 280 places formerly reserved for females will be scrapped. [7] [9] [10] Earlier in 2018, the RTP prohibited women from "inquiry official" roles. The rationale given was that women are hindered by domestic responsibilities, therefore less effective than male officers. [6] Women will still be able to become police officers via other avenues. For example, women with law degrees will continue to be recruited. [6]

National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda attributed the barring of women from the RPCA to a new Ministry of Defence ruling that all RPCA cadets must undergo an initial period of training at the male-only Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School (AFAPS). [6] Critics say the new policy violates the 2015 Gender Equality Act, [11] the constitution, Thailand's 20 year national strategy, as well as international conventions that prohibit gender discrimination. [6] [12]

RTP organization

Thai Traffic Police officers, police booth , Huaikhot, Uthai Thani Province TH Police 9.jpg
Thai Traffic Police officers, police booth , Huaikhot, Uthai Thani Province
Thai Traffic Police, Surin tamrwcchcchraacchrsurinthr14.jpg
Thai Traffic Police, Surin
2014 Thai traffic police fines 01.jpg
2014 Thai traffic police fines 02.jpg
Fines for traffic offences, 2014

The Thai police are subdivided into several regions and services, each wielding their own powers.

Royal Thai Police headquarters

Ratchawallop Police Retainers, King's Guards 904

In October 2018, a new police unit, whose job it is to protect the monarchy, the "Special Service Division", was formed. The 1,600 man unit is to provide security to the royal family and to collect information on "individuals or groups whose behaviors pose a threat to the national security and His Majesty the King." The unit is also charged with carrying out the king's "royal wishes". [13] On 28 January 2019, the unit's name was changed to "Ratchawallop Police Retainers, King's Guard 904". Its jurisdiction will extend to the entire country. [14]

Border Patrol Police division

Thai Border Patrol Police uniform. chudetm1.JPG
Thai Border Patrol Police uniform.

A 40,000 person paramilitary force. The BPP and the PARU were largely creations of the US CIA. In the late-1950s and 1960s, "The BPP and PARU were integral in U.S. and Thai counterinsurgency efforts." The BPP, other than protecting the borders, countered "infiltration and subversion..." and operated "as guerrilla forces in enemy held areas" such as northeast and southern Thailand. The PARU was a small unit used on clandestine missions outside Thailand. [15] :51

Central Investigation Bureau

The national coordinating headquarters has jurisdiction over the entire country. The CIB was organized to assist both provincial and metropolitan components of the Royal Thai Police in preventing and suppressing criminal activity and in minimizing threats to national security.

  • Specialized units of the bureau, including the railroad, marine, highway, technology police, economic police and forestry police, who employ up-to-date technical equipment, law enforcement techniques, and training. [16]
  • Five other divisions and offices employed modern procedures to assist in investigating and preventing crime.
  • The Crime Suppression Division (CSD) (Thai : กองบังคับการปราบปราม; RTGS: kong bang khap kan prappram kan kra tham khwam phit kiao kap atchayakam thang theknoloyi ), one of the bureau's largest components, is responsible for conducting most of the technical investigations of criminal offenses throughout the kingdom. Its emergency unit copes with riots and other public disorders, sabotage, counterfeiting, fraud, illegal gambling operations, narcotics trafficking, and the activities of secret societies, and organized criminal associations. It is responsible for cases involving politics, notably elections. [17]
  • Special Branch Bureau is a Special Branch — sometimes referred to by critics as the "political police", is responsible for controlling subversive activities and serves as the Thai Police's major intelligence organization, as well as the unit responsible for VIP protection.
  • The Criminal Records Office collects and maintains records required in the conduct of police work, including dossiers and fingerprints of known criminals and persons suspected of wrongdoing.
  • The Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory, where technicians perform the requisite chemical and physical analyses.
  • Licenses Division: registered and licensed firearms, vehicles, gambling establishments, and various other items and enterprises as required by law.

Narcotics Suppression Bureau

Crime Suppression Division, one of the bureau's largest components, is responsible for conducting most of the technical investigations of criminal offenses throughout the kingdom. Its Emergency Unit copes with riots and other public disorders, sabotage, counterfeiting, fraud, illegal gambling operations, narcotics trafficking, and the activities of secret societies, and organized criminal associations. The commandant of this division is Police Major General . Thailand police patch.jpg
Crime Suppression Division, one of the bureau's largest components, is responsible for conducting most of the technical investigations of criminal offenses throughout the kingdom. Its Emergency Unit copes with riots and other public disorders, sabotage, counterfeiting, fraud, illegal gambling operations, narcotics trafficking, and the activities of secret societies, and organized criminal associations. The commandant of this division is Police Major General .

Narcotics Suppression Bureau is the lead agency for counter narcotics investigations in Thailand.

Office of Logistics

Thai Police Aviation division

RTP helicopter demonstration Royal Thai Police Helicopter.JPG
RTP helicopter demonstration
RTP Eurocopter EC155, Khon Kaen, 2013 Eurocopter EC155 of the Royal Thai Police at Khon Kaen-KKC (10489783325).jpg
RTP Eurocopter EC155, Khon Kaen, 2013

The RTP operates three fixed wing and 72 rotary-wing aircraft:

Provincial Police division

Thai policemen and policewomen equipped with riot shields, Nawarat Bridge, Chiang Mai, 2010 2010 0519 Chiang Mai unrest 10a.JPG
Thai policemen and policewomen equipped with riot shields, Nawarat Bridge, Chiang Mai, 2010

The Provincial Police form the largest of the Royal Thai Police operational components in both personnel and geographic responsibility. It is headed by a commander who reported to the police commissioner-general, and administered through four police regions—geographic areas of responsibility similar to those of the army regional commands. This force provides police services to every town and village throughout the kingdom except metropolitan Bangkok and border areas. The Provincial Police thus handled law enforcement activities and in many cases was the principal representative of the central government's authority in much of the country.

During the 1960s and early-1970s, as the police assumed an increasing role in counterinsurgency operations, a lack of coordination among security forces operating in the rural areas became apparent. Observers noted that the overall police effort suffered because of conflicting organizational patterns and the highly centralized control system that required decisions on most matters to emanate from the various police bureaus of the (then) TNPD headquarters in Bangkok.

A reorganization of the TNPD in 1978 and 1979 gave more command authority to the four police lieutenant generals who served as regional commissioners of the Provincial Police. Thereafter, the senior officers of each region not only controlled all provincial police assigned to their respective geographic areas but also directed the railroad, highway, marine, and forestry police units operating there, without going through the chain of command to the Central Investigation Bureau in Bangkok. Although this change increased the workload of the regional headquarters, it resulted in greater efficiency and improved law enforcement.

The Provincial Police Division is divided into 10 regions covering the 76 Provinces of Thailand except metropolitan Bangkok and the border areas:

  • Chaiya Training
  • Special Operations Units

Police education bureau

RTP officers, Royal Police Cadet Academy Rpcacommander-04.jpg
RTP officers, Royal Police Cadet Academy

The RTP Police Education Bureau is responsible for training police personnel in the latest methods of law enforcement and the use of modern weapons. It operates the Royal Police Cadet Academy in Sam Phran District, Nakhon Pathom Province, for the officer corps, the detective training school at Bang Kaen, the Metropolitan Police Training School at Bang Kaen, and the Provincial Police training centers at Nakhon Pathom, Lampang, Nakhon Ratchasima, and Yala. The bureau also supervises a number of sites established and staffed by the BPP to train its field platoons in counterinsurgency operations. These sites include a large national facility near Hua Hin and smaller facilities in Udon Thani, Ubon Ratchathani, Chiang Mai, and Songkhla.

Tourist Police Bureau

Thai Tourist Police logo Tourist Police Thailand.JPG
Thai Tourist Police logo
Thai Tourist Police officer Thai Tourist Police Chevrolet Optra - Flickr - Highway Patrol Images.jpg
Thai Tourist Police officer

Tourist police are uniformed personnel who lack police powers and are largely responsible for writing out reports for insurance companies for victims of theft. In more serious cases, they will translate reports to be passed on to the regular police in Bangkok.

According to Reuters correspondent, Andrew Marshall, "The country has a special force of Tourist Police, set up specifically so that foreigners have as little contact as possible with the ordinary police—the effect on the crucial tourism industry would be chilling." [19]

According to one source, in 2017 there were 1,700 enlisted tourist police on the force. [20] As of 2019 the agency has 2,000 officers and 70 tourist police cars for use nationwide. [21]

Immigration Bureau

The Immigration Bureau is responsible for issuing travel visas and managing entry and departure in Thailand. The Immigration Police are a frequent target of criticism from expatriates who decry slow service, inconsistent application of regulations, and excessive filing of paper forms. [22] Referring to just one of scores of immigration forms, the TM6 Arrival-Departure Card, Kobsak Pootrakool, deputy secretary-general to the prime minister, admitted that, "The immigration police have to have a huge warehouse to store these papers," Kobsak said, adding that the police rarely look at the information in the forms, which are only stored "just in case". The government expects a 20 million visitors to Thailand this year, each required to complete a TM6 form. The form will be replaced by mobile phone app in 2019. [23]

Metropolitan Police Bureau

Thai Highway police emblem Thailand Highway police patch.jpg
Thai Highway police emblem

Responsible for providing all law enforcement services for the capital city of Bangkok and its suburbs, the Metropolitan Police Bureau is probably the most visible and publicly recognizable of all Thai police components. This largely uniformed urban force operates under the command of a chief who holds the rank of police lieutenant general assisted by six deputy chiefs. Organizationally, the force consists of three divisions, each responsible for police services in one of the three urban areas: northern Bangkok, southern Bangkok, and Thonburi. As of 2019, there are 88 police stations across the capital, each with 30-200 police officers attached to it. [24] In addition to covering the city with foot patrols, the Metropolitan Police maintains motorized units, a canine corps, building guards, traffic-control specialists, and law enforcement personnel trained to deal with juveniles. The Traffic Police Division also provides escorts and guards of honor for the king and visiting dignitaries and served as a riot-control force to prevent demonstrations and to disperse unruly crowds in Bangkok.[ citation needed ]

Patrol and Special operation Division (191 Special Branch police)

Traffic Police Division

The Traffic Police Division (TPD) got its start in 1927 as the "Registration Division". TPD officers now are responsible for patrolling the roads throughout their areas of responsibility. In addition to their general road policing duties, they work to improve road safety, and deal with vehicle crimes and the criminal use of the road network. They back up other units as they are constantly roaming as part of their patrolling duties. [25]

Thai military deputized as police

On 29 March 2016, in a move that the Bangkok Post said will "...will inflict serious and long-term damage...", the NCPO, under a Section 44 order (NCPO Order 13/2559) signed by junta chief Prayut Chan-o-cha, granted to commissioned officers of the Royal Thai Armed Forces broad police powers to suppress and arrest anyone they suspect of criminal activity without a warrant and detain them secretly at almost any location without charge for up to seven days. Bank accounts can be frozen, and documents and property can be seized. Travel can be banned. Automatic immunity for military personnel has been built into the order, and there is no independent oversight or recourse in the event of abuse. The order came into immediate effect. The net result is that the military will have more power than the police and less oversight. [26]

The government has stated that the purpose of this order is to enable military officers to render their assistance in an effort to "...suppress organized crimes such as extortion, human trafficking, child and labor abuses, gambling, prostitution, illegal tour guide services, price collusion, and firearms. It neither aims to stifle nor intimidate dissenting voices. Defendants in such cases will go through normal judicial process, with police as the main investigator...trial[s] will be conducted in civilian courts, not military ones. Moreover, this order does not deprive the right of the defendants to file complaints against military officers who have abused their power." [27]

The NCPO said that the reason for its latest order is that there are simply not enough police, in spite of the fact that there are about 230,000 officers in the Royal Thai Police force. They make up about 17 percent of all non-military public servants. This amounts to 344 cops for every 100,000 persons in Thailand, more than twice the ratio in Myanmar and the Philippines, one and a half times that of Japan and Indonesia, and roughly the same proportion as the United States. [28]

In a joint statement released on 5 April 2016, six groups, including Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty International, and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), condemned the move. [29]


Thai Police car Toyota Hilux Chiang Mai Police car TH 2.jpg
Thai Police car Toyota Hilux Chiang Mai

The Royal Thai Police, especially the provincial forces, extensively uses pickup trucks and SUVs. For traffic regulation and patrolling in cities, sedans and motorcycles are also used. Highway police vehicles generally also have equipment like speed radars, breath analyzers, and emergency first aid kits. They also use tuk-tuks, minivans, bicycles, all-terrain vehicles, boats, and helicopters.[ citation needed ]

Royal Thai Police vehicle colors vary widely according to grade, region, and kind of duty performed. Bangkok metropolitan police vehicles are black and white. Provincial police vehicles are maroon and white while highway police are maroon and yellow.


There are no standard-issue pistols carried by the Royal Thai Police. Policemen must buy their own pistol and he/she must buy what's available in Thailand and what he/she can afford. If the police officer can't afford a pistol, he may purchase one by paying in installments through their police co-operative.

One of the most popular police pistols is the M1911A1 .45 ACP pistol which can be found readily and relatively cheaply in Thailand. The 9mm Glock 19 Parabellum is another popular, albeit more expensive, choice.

In mid-2015, Pol Gen Somyot Phumphanmuang, Royal Thai Police Commissioner, initiated a program to allow officers to purchase United States-made, 9mm SIG Sauer P320 pistols [30] for 18,000 baht each. The Thai market price for this gun is several times higher. The affordable price is made possible by a special police exemption from import quotas and import duties. [31] [32] In December 2017, 150,000 SIG Sauer P320SP pistols became available for purchase by police for 23,890 baht each. The RTP will, in addition, distribute 55,000 of the new pistols to police stations nationwide, each station receiving 60. [33]

Though the Thai police does not issue pistols, long-guns are made available by the government. Common are the Heckler & Koch MP5 and FN P90 sub-machine guns, Remington 870 shotguns, the M4 carbine, and M16 rifles.

M1911 Semi-automatic pistol .45 ACP Flag of the United States.svg US
Flag of Thailand.svg Thailand
Thai M1911A1 pistols produced under license; locally known as the Type 86 pistol (ปพ.86).
First-year H&K USP 9mm (32415150000) modified.jpg
Heckler & Koch USP Semi-automatic pistol.45ACPFlag of Germany.svg GermanyUsed by Arintharat 26 Special Operation Unit and Naresuan 261 Special Operation Unit
Springfield Xd40.jpg
HS2000 Semi-automatic pistol 9×19mm Parabellum Flag of Croatia.svg CroatiaUsed by Arintharat 26 Special Operation Unit and Naresuan 261 Special Operation Unit [34]
CZ 75 Semi-automatic pistol9×19mm ParabellumFlag of the Czech Republic.svg Czech Republic
Beretta 92 FS.gif
Beretta 92 Semi-automatic pistol9×19mm ParabellumFlag of Italy.svg Italy
Beretta M1951 Semi-automatic pistol9×19mm ParabellumFlag of Italy.svg Italy
Beretta Px4 Storm Semi-automatic pistol9×19mm ParabellumFlag of Italy.svg ItalyUsed by Arintharat 26 Special Operation Unit and Naresuan 261 Special Operation Unit
High power Inglis (6971784217).jpg
Browning Hi-Power [35] Semi-automatic pistol9×19mm ParabellumFlag of Belgium (civil).svg Belgium
SIG Sauer P226 neu.jpg
SIG Sauer P226 [36] Semi-automatic pistol9×19mm ParabellumFlag of Germany.svg GermanyUsed by Arintharat 26 Special Operation Unit and Naresuan 261 Special Operation Unit
SIG Sauer P320 compact pistol.jpg
SIG Sauer P320SPSemi-automatic pistol9×19mm ParabellumFlag of Germany.svg GermanyUsed by Arintharat 26 Special Operation Unit and Naresuan 261 Special Operation Unit
ARMS & Hunting 2012 exhibition (474-23).jpg
Glock 17 [37] Semi-automatic pistol9×19mm ParabellumFlag of Austria.svg AustriaUsed by Arintharat 26 Special Operation Unit and Naresuan 261 Special Operation Unit
FN Five-seven Semi-automatic pistol FN 5.7×28mm Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Belgium
Remington Model 870 Shotgun 12 gauge Flag of the United States.svg USAUsed by Arintharat 26 Special Operation Unit and Naresuan 261 Special Operation Unit
PEO Mossberg 590A1.jpg
Mossberg 500 Shotgun12 gaugeFlag of the United States.svg USA
SPAS-12 stock folded.jpg
Franchi SPAS-12 Shotgun12 gaugeFlag of Italy.svg ItalyUsed by Arintharat 26 Special Operation Unit and Naresuan 261 Special Operation Unit
Submachine guns
Heckler & Koch MP5 Submachine gun 9×19mm ParabellumFlag of Germany.svg GermanyUsed by Arintharat 26 Special Operation Unit and Naresuan 261 Special Operation Unit
Heckler & Koch UMP Submachine gun9×19mm ParabellumFlag of Germany.svg GermanyUsed by Arintharat 26 Special Operation Unit and Naresuan 261 Special Operation Unit
Heckler & Koch MP7A1.jpg Heckler & Koch MP7 Submachine gun HK 4.6×30mm Flag of Germany.svg GermanyUsed by Arintharat 26 Special Operation Unit and Naresuan 261 Special Operation Unit
SIG SAUR MPX.jpg SIG Sauer MPX Submachine gun HK 4.6×30mm Flag of Germany.svg GermanyUsed by Arintharat 26 Special Operation Unit and Naresuan 261 Special Operation Unit
FN P90 Submachine gun 5.7x28mm Flag of Belgium (civil).svg BelgiumFN P90 submachine guns used by Used by Arintharat 26 Special Operation Unit and Naresuan 261 Special Operation Unit
Uzi of the israeli armed forces.jpg
UZI Submachine gun9×19mm ParabellumFlag of Israel.svg IsraelUsed by Arintharat 26 Special Operation Unit and Naresuan 261 Special Operation Unit
KRISS Vector Submachine gun9×19mm ParabellumFlag of the United States.svg USUsed by Arintharat 26 Special Operation Unit and Naresuan 261 Special Operation Unit
Assault rifles
M16 rifle Assault rifle 5.56×45mm NATO Flag of the United States.svg US
PEO M4 Carbine RAS M68 CCO.jpg
M4 Carbine Assault rifle5.56×45mm NATOFlag of the United States.svg US
FN-FAL belgian.jpeg
FN FAL Battle Rifle7.62×51mm NATOFlag of Belgium (civil).svg Belgium



Royal Thai Police uniforms vary widely according to rank, region, and kind of duty performed. Among the police, uniforms tend to resemble army dress rather than conventional police uniforms.

Considered part of the police "uniform", all male officers are required to shave the sides and back of their heads, leaving a short crop of hair on the top, hence its common name, (Thai : ขาวสามด้าน; RTGS: khao sam dan), or 'three white sides'. The models for the haircut are the royal guards who protect King Vajiralongkorn. They are known for their short haircuts, required by the monarch. "It's a royal practice," a retired police general said. "...we are all serving His Majesty the King...It looks beautiful...It doesn't hurt anyone." [38]

Rank structure


NATO CodeOF-10OF-9OF-8OF-7OF-6OF-5OF-4OF-3OF-2OF-1Student Officer
RTP OF-9 (Police General).svg RTP OF-8 (Police Lieutenant General).svg RTP OF-7 (Police Major General).svg RTP OF-6 (Police Brigadier).svg RTP OF-5 (Police Colonel).svg RTP OF-4 (Police Lieutenant Colonel).svg RTP OF-3 (Police Major).svg RTP OF-2 (Police Captain).svg RTP OF-1b (Police Lieutenant).svg RTP OF-1a (Police Sub Lieutenant).svg ร ๑ or ๒ or ๓ or ๔
Thai title พลตำรวจเอกพลตำรวจโทพลตำรวจตรีพลตำรวจจัตวาพันตำรวจเอกพันตำรวจโทพันตำรวจตรีร้อยตำรวจเอกร้อยตำรวจโทร้อยตำรวจตรีนักเรียนนายร้อยตำรวจ
RTGS Phon Tam Ruad EkPhon Tam Ruad ThoPhon Tam Ruad TriPhon Tam Ruad JattawaPhan Tam Ruad EkPhan Tam Ruad ThoPhan Tam Ruad TriRoi Tam Ruad EkRoi Tam Ruad ThoRoi Tam Ruad TriNak Rian Nai Roi Tam Ruad
Abbreviation [39] พล.ต.อ.พล.ต.ท.พล.ต.ต.พล.ต.จ.พ.ต.อ.พ.ต.ท.พ.ต.ต.ร.ต.อ.ร.ต.ท.ร.ต.ต.นรต.
Anglicised versionPolice GeneralPolice Lieutenant GeneralPolice Major GeneralPolice Senior Colonel Police ColonelPolice Lieutenant ColonelPolice MajorPolice CaptainPolice LieutenantPolice Sub LieutenantPolice Cadet Officer
UK equivalent (Military/Police) General
Lieutenant General
Deputy Commissioner
Major General
Assistant Commissioner
Chief Superintendent
Lieutenant Colonel
Divisional Superintendent
Chief Inspector
Second Lieutenant
Subdivisional Inspector
Officer Cadet

Non-commissioned officers

Constable ranks RTP OR-9 (Police Senior Sergeant Major).svg RTP OR-8 (Police Sergeant Major).svg RTP OR-5 (Police Sergeant).svg RTP OR-4 (Police Corporal).svg RTP OR-3 (Police Lance Corporal).svg No Insignia
Dahb Tam RuadCha Sip Tam RuadSip Tam Ruad EkSip Tam Ruad ThoSip Tam Ruad TriPhon Tam Ruad
Police Sergeant MajorPolice Staff SergeantPolice SergeantPolice CorporalPolice Lance CorporalPolice Constable
NATO CodeOR-9 or OR-8OR-7 or OR-6OR-5OR-4OR-3OR-1

Notable Thai police chiefs

Police corruption

On the occasion of the festivities surrounding its 12th anniversary, the Office of the Ombudsman, Thailand reported on its activities since its inception. Chief Ombudsman Panit Nitithanprapas noted that her office had handled nearly 25,000 cases during the period and observed that the Royal Thai Police had been found to be "the most corrupt agency in Thailand". [43] Curiously, Ms Panit's photo does not appear among those of other former ombudsmen on the organisation's website, nor is there any other mention of her. [44]

In the words of Jomdet Trimek, a former police officer, now an academician, "In-depth studies of the causes of...corruption tend to be avoided." [45] Jomdet attributes police corruption to two factors: a centralized police bureaucracy which gives too much power to a few; and very low police salaries. He divides police corruption into three main forms: embezzlement of government funds, coercing bribes from the public, and collection of protection money from illegal business operators and gives examples of each. At the level of constable, this petty thievery is driven by low wages: entry level salaries for police with no university education was 6,800 baht (2012). In June 2015, the Bangkok Post reported that, "Thai police officers are paid around 14,760 baht per month (6,800–8,340 baht for entry level) and have to buy their own guns and even office supplies." [46] He posits that one reason salaries are so low is that the sheer number of officers is staggering, roughly 250,000. This means that an increase of 5,000 baht in every cop's monthly salary would cost the government a politically untenable 15 billion baht annually. [45] :51

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha appointed no-nonsense Police-General Somyot Poompanmoung head of the RTP following the coup of May 2014. Somyot, whose declared assets exceed US$11.5 million, has vowed to transfer, arrest, or prosecute all corrupt officers. But, according to Chuwit Kamolvisit, a former massage parlour magnate turned legislator, "police reform" is a never-ending mantra which never produces results. The "cash-for-jobs" culture within the police is too deep to uproot, he says, alleging that low-ranking officers earning just US$460 a month tap the public for bribes, or solicit protection money from dodgy businesses to top up their salaries and buy promotions. "Rank and status is everything in Thailand... when you are a small policeman to go up [sic], you need to have the right boss, and preferably one at a 'golden police station'– near a casino or entertainment venue", he explained. [47]

In a 2008 article, The Economist summed up their assessment succinctly: "In Thailand's most sensational crimes, the prime suspects are often the police." [48]

In August 2015, a post was made on the Sakon Nakhon Police Facebook page, allegedly from a junior officer. Among other observations the post asked, "...Are our meagre salaries enough to support our families? The answer is no. We have to borrow money and get trapped in debt. "So what about the phuyai [bigwigs]? Are they in debt too? Definitely not. They are rich. Why? Because at the end of every month, money from gambling dens, entertainment venues, the sex trade, human trafficking, drugs and whatnot are routinely sent to them." The post was immediately deleted. Then the Facebook page was deleted altogether. The supervisor of the junior policeman in charge of the page said it was all a technical mistake. Someone had hacked into the page to write the message to taint the image of the police force. [49]

In the view of Rangsit University's Associate Professor Police Lieutenant Colonel Krisanaphong Poothakool, "We hear that police reform is ongoing, but in practice, nothing is happening". He added that the country has had a couple of police reform committees, which did not amount to much when their recommendations were ignored. [50]

Thai police in action

Following the arrest of one suspect in the bombing, the national police chief, Somyot Poompanmoung, said that he would award the three million baht reward (US$84,000) for tips leading to the arrest of bombing suspects to the Royal Thai Police. "This money should be given to officials who did their job," he said at a news conference as aides brought out stacks of 1,000 baht notes. How the money would be distributed to the police was not made clear. [64] Also unclear was whether the landlady who owned the apartment where the suspect was captured and phoned in her suspicions will receive any money. [65] At a press conference on 28 September 2015 Somyot announced that the police consider the Erewan bombing case solved: the bomb attack was revenge by a gang that was smuggling ethnic Uighurs out of China and had been damaged by a police crackdown. Somyot took the occasion to award police working the case a second tranche of reward money donated by private citizens and was photographed with bundles of 1,000 baht notes. [66]

See also

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PD-icon.svg This article incorporates  public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website

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