In an effort to improve the safety and morale of their officers, the National Police Office has decided to overturn its previous regulation dictating that male officers should maintain a short haircut with a top length of no more than 3 centimetres. Instead, the updated policy will allow for a more lenient haircut standard, giving officers the liberty to have their hair up to 5 centimetres on top and as short as 1 centimetre on the sides and the back.
According to Torsak Sukvimol, the National Police Chief, the shift in policy is based on various directives by all National Police Chiefs. These directives highlight the importance of maintaining morale amongst officers by encouraging visits from commanders in the field.
During his visits to the southernmost provinces, Torsak found that the enforcement of the short hair standard made officers unduly conspicuous, thus making them easy targets for insurgents. He voiced his concerns, stating, “Ever since taking up this role, I’ve wanted to tailor policies based on the realities faced by the officers. This isn’t a top-down approach but a response to the ground realities.”
Torsak underscored that this policy shift was based on collective dialogue and consensus amongst commanders. It wasn’t implemented on his sole discretion. The decision reflects the understanding of the important and high-stake nature of an officer’s duties in the three southernmost provinces. Where their distinctive hairstyles could potentially flag them as easy targets to those with malicious intent.
A short haircut also restricts investigators from blending into common occupations for undercover operations, concerning non-police personnel like being monks. However, for other roles, existing hair regulations are in place. The new regulation takes a more mission-specific approach, varying according to different roles. Officers on special operations that don’t fall within these specific provinces are still required to comply with the original haircut regulations.
Torsak initially intended to announce the policy alteration as a gesture on October 17 but felt the need to divert the spotlight from the hair change. Instead, his focus is on continued efforts in adapting to the problems and challenges officers encounter in the field. As he aptly puts it, “Visits shouldn’t only be about inspections, but also about resolving issues. This is a policy for all commanders.”
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