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Phuket Police launched bicycle patrols yesterday (Nov 12) with the aim of reducing crime and boosting public safety in popular tourist spots during the high season.
Phuket Provincial Police Commander Gen Patchara Boonyasit presided over a ceremony at Sapan Hin this morning to officially launch the new two-wheeled police patrols.
“At least four officers from each district police station will be assigned to bicycle patrols with a focus on looking after tourists, as well as the athletes here for the Asian Beach Games,” said Maj Gen Patchara.
Bicycle patrol officers can be easily recognized in their white polo shirts with police insignia and dark shorts. They are also setting a good example by wearing protective head gear.
A good command of the English language is one of the special skills required by officers assigned to bicycle patrols.
“Karon and Kamala Police have been doing bicycle patrols for some time already and it has been quite successful so we have extended the programme to all Phuket police stations.
Police hope the bicycle patrols will help prevent crimes such as robberies and muggings of tourists in beach areas and when they are in vulnerable situations such as walking alone in the dark.
The bicycle patrols are part of a broader effort to boost safety for tourists.
Gen Patchara added that a recent initiative to encourage foreigners to report crimes at 7-Eleven stores in Karon had also been successful.
“After receiving good feedback we plan to involve more 7-Eleven stores across Phuket as points of contact where foreigners can report crimes,” said Gen Patchara.
“Cooperating with 7-Eleven stores has worked well because non-local victims often don’t know their location but local shop staff can more easily describe to police the nature of the crimes and where they took place,” he said.
The typical response time for incidents reported at 7-Eleven stores was just five minutes, said Gen Patchara.
Most of the cases dealt with by Karon police from reports made at 7-Eleven stores have been thefts and muggings, he said.