Police dummy springs to life

Police are making a series of short films featuring "Ja Choey" in a move to improve the force's image.

Many people currently see the police as unfriendly and unkind.

Ja Choey, or Sergeant Indifferent, is a police dummy placed at intersections to scare traffic violators, but in the new films - now posted on YouTube and the CIB and CSD websites - called Ja Choey, the Series , Ja Choey comes alive to help the public.

The series is the brainchild of Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) chief Pongpat Chayaphan who wants to make more use of Ja Choey rather than simply place him by a roadside to frighten wrongdoers, said Chatchai Choisa, deputy police inspector at Nopphawong railway station.

Pol Sub Lt Chatchai, who plays Ja Choey in the films, was speaking during shooting for Episode 5 at the Crime Suppression Division (CSD). He said the preceding episodes have received a good response, especially from children.

In the films Ja Choey is supposed to represent a good police officer. He is eager to help people overcome their troubles and is always friendly rather than imposing.

The films are being broadcast amid the political tensions between anti-government protesters and the caretaker Yingluck Shinawatra government.

Policemen are accused by protest leaders of siding with the government, which they say is a proxy of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

At certain times during the unrest police have confronted and some times clashed with protesters.

This has only served to worsen the public image of policemen, some of whom are widely alleged to take bribes and make money by extorting wrongdoers.

"Police should not only keep on catching wrongdoers. They have to serve people and develop relationships with them," Pol Sub Lt Chatchai said, referring to Lt Gen Pongpat's aim to change the police force's image. Lt Gen Pongpat has already put intentions into action by introducing community policing at his bureau.

Under this policy, his subordinates need to think more about how to serve people, CSD chief Supisarn Bhakdinarinath said.

Ja Choey the Series is a reflection of what Lt Gen Pongpat would like to see. He wants his subordinates and other policemen to act like Ja Choey in the film, and not like the police dummy on the side of the road.

"Sergeant Indifferent will not be indifferent any more. He will listen to people and pay more attention to what they say and want," Pol Maj Gen Supisarn said.

The CSD chief hopes the films will eventually change the negative attitude many people have towards the police. Children, in particular, will hopefully view police in a new light.

"Policemen are not demons. They are good people ready to help the public," Pol Maj Gen Supisarn said.

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