Tourists and Crime in Phuket
Phuket is a welcoming place and most visitors will never have any real problems during their stay. Unfortunately the fact that it is such a popular tourist destination does mean that the island can attract deviant types. Those who become a victim of crime often feel unsure about how they should proceed. Dealing with a foreign police service can appear intimidating – especially when the language barrier and cultural differences are taking into account. This is why the availability of the foreign police volunteers on Phuket has proved to be such a great success. These individuals are able to liaise between the tourist and the police – and they are also there to offer advice.
Types of Police Volunteers in Phuket
There are actually two types of police volunteers in Phuket:
- immigration police volunteers, and
- auxiliary police volunteers
The role of the immigration police volunteers is to help foreigners with any questions they might have in regards to immigration. These volunteers work in both the Phuket Town immigration office and the Patong immigration office. They can also act as translators between the tourist and the regular immigration officers. The auxiliary police volunteers assist the regular police force in their dealings with foreigners. Both units fall under the command of the Thai Tourist police.
History of the Foreign Police Volunteers in Phuket
The birth of the foreign police volunteers can be traced back to the horrific tsunami that hit the island in 2004. During the events that followed this it became obvious that the Thai police could benefit from having foreign nationals who could liaise with tourists. It was found that this made things easier for the foreign visitors and the local police. The program has proved so successful that it is also available in other tourist areas of Thailand including:
- Chiang Mai
Role of the Foreign Police Volunteers in Phuket
The role of the Phuket police volunteers is to serve and protect visitors to the island. They do this by assisting the regular police force and their mission includes:
- Acting as translators between the Thai police and tourists
- Offering advice to tourists for how to protect themselves and stay safe in Thailand.
- Helping tourist avoid being victims of scams during their stay in Phuket.
- They help to suppress any criminal activity that might impact tourists on the island.
- They help protect visitors to the island from any criminal activity.
- Support the regular police in any efforts to promote the safety and interest of tourists or locals.
- They can alert tourists of any potential dangers.
- Volunteers are expected to promote Thailand as a tourist destination.
- Monitor crowed areas for any packages that look suspicious.
- Prevent inebriated tourists from getting into trouble.
- Offer assistance to any foreigner who become unwell and insure that they get medical assistance.
They can be contacted 24 hours a day and in an emergency it should be possible for tourists to speak to somebody right away in their own language. The tourist police can be contacted on 1155.
How to Become a Police Volunteer
It is possible for any foreigner to join the volunteer police force in Phuket so long as they meet certain conditions. The current requirements for the police auxiliary program is:
- Volunteers must be aged over eighteen years of age.
- They will need to undergo a criminal record check.
- They must never have been convicted of a felony crime.
- Applicants need to have a non-immigrant O or B visa.
- They are expected to have near fluency in Thai.
- They are liable to urine testing for drug use – they may have to submit to this from time to time.
- Applicants need to have a minimum of a high school graduate qualification (or similar).
- Have a Thai driving license or obtain one within the first year of joining the force.
- Those who wish to join the auxiliary force must adhere to the applicable policies and procedures.
- Each applicant will be expected to have a commitment to serving the tourist community as well as Phuket citizens.
- Applicants need to have high moral and ethical standards.
The application process involves a background check and interview. Successful applicants will be expected to buy their own uniform and other materials.