Royal Thai Police

 

The Royal Thai Police are the national police force of Thailand. The RTP employs between 210,700 and 230,000 officers, roughly 17 percent of all civil servants (excluding military and the employees of state-owned enterprises). The Royal Thai Police frequently is recognized as the fourth armed force of Thailand as their tradition, concept, culture, skill, and training are relatively same as the army and most of their officer cadets need to graduate from the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School together with prospective cadets of the armed forces branches as a preparatory requirement before entering the Police Academy, while the constables endure paramilitary training similar to the army but with an additional focus on law enforcement.
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 Thai Police Cadet Academy 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).
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.
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.
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.
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".