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Thai PM Calls for Reform of the Department of Special Investigations (DSI)



Over the years the DSI has faced growing criticism regarding its jurisdiction and authority over cases. – Nation Photo

BANGKOK – Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha calls for reform of the Department of Special Investigations (DSI) to prepare it to handle only special cases in the future. (Screen grab YouTube)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has called for an overhaul of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) so it can face future challenges and cope with extraordinary or particularly burdensome cases.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said the premier has voiced concern about the state of the DSI and asked him and Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon to take steps to improve its performance.

“The prime minister wants the DSI to be more efficient and trustworthy and investigate special cases, not ordinary ones. It should not do what the police are doing,” he said.

Over the years the DSI has faced growing criticism regarding its jurisdiction and authority over cases, with critics arguing that several of those it has accepted as “special cases” should be have been left to the police.

Mr Wissanu said that as part of the DSI reforms, outsiders are likely to be allowed to apply for jobs with the agency, which requires specialists in several areas including forensic and inquiry work.

He also said the DSI overhaul, which falls under the jurisdiction of the justice administration reform committee, will proceed hand in hand with efforts to reform the police.

In the area of police reform, Mr Wissanu said Gen Prayut has also urged various parties to review a proposal seeking to separate inquiry work from the jobs the police force do.

He said while Gen Prayut agrees inquiry work should be handled independently to ensure transparency, it does not have to be transferred to another body, especially when the DSI is a separate entity under the Justice Ministry.

“Currently police work is divided into two groups: prevention of crimes and inquiries. There ought to be a clear line drawn between them, without transferring the inquiry section from the Royal Thai Police [RTP],” said Mr Wissanu.

The proposal seeking the separation of work has been central to police reform efforts with advocates suggesting officials who deal with inquiry or investigative work be transferred to an independent body.

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