With Khmer New Year celebrations just a few days away, Phnom Penh municipal police chief Sar Thet convened a meeting to work out plans to send more than 2,200 officers to safeguard security and maintain public order in the capital.
At the meeting on April 7, Thet reminded all of the district police chiefs present of their duties to work diligently to guarantee the security and safety of the city’s revellers during the holiday celebrations.
Thet mentioned in particular that the officers assigned to traffic duties must actively work to ease congestion of the roadways and direct motorists at the points of entry and exit to the city.
He said that prior experience had taught the municipal police forces the need to undertake certain measures to prevent disruptions around locations such as pagodas, resorts, entertainment venues and on the busiest roadways.
Phnom Penh Municipal Police spokesman San Sokseyha told The Post on April 7 that the 2,200-plus officers on duty were fully prepared to maintain security, keep public order and ease traffic congestion during the holiday.
“The 2,200 officers who will be out on the streets come from every department and unit of the municipal police from the specialized investigators, to district officers, police station personnel, traffic police, fire department personnel and emergency responders – every department will be participating and cooperating to protect the people,” he said.
He added that hundreds of traffic police officers had already been deployed at various intersections across the city, especially at the entrances and exits into or out of the city to make it easier for people to travel to their family homes in the provinces without huge traffic jams delaying their journeys.
“We also have our fire department officials on 24 hour standby over the holiday in case anything happens that requires their intervention. We also have a special intervention force trained to deal with dangerous or violent situations standing at the ready in case of any problems,” he said.
Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng gave similar instructions to the capital’s 14 district administrations. He told them to allow residents to have fun but ensure that is safe and legal fun and that no banned games are permitted such as water fights on public roads or places or at resorts, public parks, pagodas or other places where one group’s attempts at fun can be a big headache for everyone else who happens to be there.
Khuong Sreng added that the municipal administration was ready to facilitate the observance of the ancient traditions of Sonkran at Wat Phnom and at all 150 pagodas throughout Phnom Penh to celebrate and welcome the New Year.
He also instructed the General Department of Public Works and Transport in Phnom Penh to put up holiday decorations such as colourful light displays on the city’s streets, at the pagodas and at Wat Phnom to enhance the beauty of the city and heighten the enjoyment of the holiday for Cambodians and tourists alike.