October 13, 2023
BANGKOK – A rule that requires an extremely short crew cut for policemen has put them in danger when they go undercover, National Police chief Pol General Torsak Sukvimol said on Thursday.
He said that was the reason why he would issue an order to repeal the rule on October 17 as a present for all police officers across the country.
Thailand marks October 17 as National Police Day.
Torsak, who assumed the top police post on October 1, said on Thursday that his decision came after he learned about concerns of several junior policemen stationed in the insurgency-hit deep South.
“I have gathered information since I was serving as an assistant National Police chief. During my visits to the three southern border provinces, I found that my young subordinates who complied with the haircut rule became targets of the insurgents,” Torsak said.
He added that he decided to lift the buzz cut requirement after becoming the police chief.
“This is a bottom-up policy, not a top-down one. It is based on the actual situation of junior officers,” the police chief said.
In November 2017, then-police chief Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda imposed the close cropped haircut rule. The requirement became part of the Royal Thai Police regulation on official dress code in the following year.
Under the current regulation, policemen are required to meet the uniform haircut style that calls for the sides and back of the head to be shorn close until they are “white” and the hair on the top no longer than 3 centimetres.
The new police chief plans to change the rule to allow up to 1cm on the sides and back of the head, and no longer than 5cm on the top.
Torsak said on Thursday that this idea came after he discussed the matter with other police commanders who saw the need for changes in the haircut rule so that their subordinates working in the southern border region would not be easily recognised and targeted by insurgents.
“Police investigators also risk their lives when they need to go undercover. It’s difficult for them to disguise themselves. With the short haircut, they can only go undercover as Buddhist monks,” the police chief said.