Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum-Asia) introduced a computer-based police training education program to engage and enlist the support of key leadership of the Royal Thai Police (RTP) to champion the training tool. As a tactic, the computer-based police training program provides an excellent tool to promote community policing and help police more effectively address their own immediate day-to-day policing challenges while also serving to build mutual trust, acknowledgement and support.
Forum-Asia is a regional human rights organization created in 1991 and has its headquarters in Bangkok. The organization has worked toward promoting community policing, more accountability and transparency in Thailand and other countries in Asia.
A very important aspect of Forum-Asia’s tactical approach was not to label the training program "Police and Human Rights," but rather "Professional Policing." This concept was a program of police and for police. Forum-Asia wanted to address the practical behavioral skills which police officers need in their day-to-day work. Forum-Asia offered the police a practical training that would meet the needs of police themselves.
This new police training program achieves two main aims: first, to introduce highly practical and effective training on human rights into the police training classrooms; and second, to introduce modern and sophisticated training methodologies as a way to influence how other topics in the police training curriculum are taught. There are a number of benefits to this approach:
First, based on previous experience, police training institutions are usually the more open-minded or ‘liberal’ parts of police organizations, and are more open to co-operation with civil society. Even though official approval from the central leadership of police is generally required for developing co-operation, this can more easily be achieved by providing training that genuinely addresses police needs.
Second, by providing the kind of highly professional training police see as directly benefiting their work, relations of confidence and even friendship can be established. A more long-term relationship can be built based on a growing awareness that both partners are not just criticizing each other, but have common goals: serving the community and, in particular, the more vulnerable groups in society.
Third, the training program would help us establish confidence, allowing future inroads to tackle more delicate issues of police reform, such as community policing.
The successful and relatively speedy introduction of the new training program in Thailand enabled Forum-Asia to jointly organize a regional workshop with the RTP and the Police Education Bureau in Bangkok in June 2004. This training included the participation of representatives from civil society and top level police from eight other Asian countries.
For more information on this tactic, read our in-depth case study.
New Tactics in Human Rights does not advocate for or endorse specific tactics, policies or issues.