Police say it's time to change colours

Police say painting their patrol cars blue will help fight crime as the vehicles attract more attention

After the supposed huge success of Ja Choei, the plastic dummies of policemen put up at some intersections, the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) is using new colours for its cars to serve a similar purpose.

The CSD is trying to boost its image with a batch of newly painted police cars it believes will help keep the crime rate down and at the same time, make people better recognise police.

Many studies have found that certain colours of police cars, particularly blue, help prevent crimes, Pol Col Tosak Sukwimon, chief of the commando unit under the CSD, told the Bangkok Post.

His unit, known for its role in carrying out special missions, is responsible for overseeing a fleet of what he called "land sharks", the nickname of 86 CSD patrol cars used nationwide to look out for irregularities.

Contact Crime Track: crimetrack@bangkokpost.co.th.

Pol Col Tosak decided to give the land sharks a new look after he noticed British and European police are particular about the colour of their vehicles. British police are careful about picking the colours of their cars as certain colours make them more, or less, noticeable, he said.

According to research, Pol Col Tosak said, blue is more noticeable than white or yellow. However, yellow is particularly effective because of its light reflecting qualities, which will make the cars noticeable during the day and at night, he said.

British experts have conducted studies on colours for the past 10 years to make police cars recognisable at a distance of between 200 and 500 metres. The idea is that people must be able to differentiate them from ordinary cars.

They eventually found the use of dark and bright colours in a chequered pattern best fit police. These will make the cars easily noticed in the day and night and effective in preventing crimes, Pol Col Tosak said.

The sight of these cars can discourage criminals from committing wrongdoings, or at least make them think twice before taking action.

Pol Col Tosak asked Pol Capt Kwanphon Phengduean, who is pursuing a masters degree programme in England, to look into various study findings in order to find the right colours for CSD patrol cars that can help the officers better deal with crimes. The CSD finally decided to follow British police cars that use blue and yellow, which can reflect light.

"We believe this will benefit people as well as our image," Pol Col Tosak said, adding all 86 land sharks have been painted in the new colours, following approval granted by national police chief Pol Gen Jakthip Chaijinda.

It is the newest look of CSD patrol cars after they went through many changes in the past from white and blue to light grey, which were used before the latest change. The new land sharks are basically painted in light grey, but what makes it more noticeable is the stripes of blue and yellow colours in the pattern on two sides of a car body.

Below these colours are words "POLICE" painted in blue, aimed to be noticed from a far distance.

The fleet of 86 cars are now ready to give protection to members of the royal family and their foreign guests as well as help CSD officers prevent crimes, Pol Col Tosak said.

To reduce chances of criminal activities, land sharks will patrol streets, especially those near shopping areas and tourist attractions where snatch thefts are reported. However, sometimes they will be parked at some spots and officers will patrol on foot.

The appearance of the land sharks this way is a good help, Pol Col Tosak said. "It can cut criminals' opportunity because they'll be afraid of being nabbed," Pol Col Tosak added.

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