Siege prompts mental health screenings of cops

Siege prompts mental health screenings of cops

Police officers nationwide will undergo mental health screenings in a bid to prevent further meltdowns after a 27-hour siege at a house in Bangkok this week involving a disturbed cop.

Pol Lt Gen Waratchai Srirattanawut, head of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), has assigned medical teams to conduct random health checks on officers of the Metropolitan Police Bureau and provincial police stations to ensure public safety and increase their working efficiency, Pol Maj Gen Sanatee Prayoonrat, OIG spokesman, said yesterday.

People can lodge complaints with the Jaray Complaint Management System (JCoMs) if they come across officers who appear to be mentally disturbed, added the spokesman.

The screening order followed an incident in Sai Mai district where a 51-year-old police inspector, Pol Lt Col Kittikarn Saengbun, had been firing shots into the air and inside his house since Tuesday morning before the 27-hour siege ended on Wednesday. The officer succumbed to his injuries the same night.

Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said yesterday that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha expressed regret over the death of the police inspector as he did not want to see any loss of life.

Gen Prayut ordered the national police chief, Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas, to remedy affected households in Sai Mai and instructed all police units to monitor the conduct of their officers to prevent a repeat, said Mr Anucha.

More than 20 families were affected by the officer’s gun firing, which prompted the deployment of police commandos and task force officers to the scene, said the spokesman.

But National Police Chief Pol Gen Damrongsak insisted his police carried out the operation strategically. Psychiatrists were also called in.

Pol Gen Torsak Sukwimol, deputy national police chief, said an initial autopsy found traces of narcotics in the policeman’s body.