Cambodia Table of Contents
Devided loyalties: A Phnom Penh policeman minds his child whild guarding a hotel.
Courtesy Bill Herod
In Phnom Penh itself, police were organized into seven precinct or ward offices, with an additional thirteen precincts in the greater capital area. In the mid-1980s, the chief of the Phnom Penh police served concurrently as the deputy minister of interior. The organizational functions of the capital police staff approximately replicated those of the Ministry of Interior at the national level. Observers identified fourteen different bureaus, dealing with political security, interrogation, political ideology, internal defense, clandestine investigations, case analysis, organization/appointments, supply, forensics/polytechnics, administration, statistical, defense police (embassy and government building security guards), firefighting, and traffic control. A defecting police official estimated that arrests in the capital for both political and criminal offenses averaged about 100 per month in the 1980s.
At the provincial level, police authority was vested in a chief of the People's Security Service who was responsible to the KUFNCD provincial committee and, through channels, to the Ministry of Interior. The police sought to maintain a physical presence at least as far down as the district level and, where possible, as far down as the commune level. Police officials in the countryside were responsible both to their local party and government committees and to law-enforcement authorities at the next higher echelon. In areas without a police presence, law-enforcement responsibilities devolved upon local party or government officials.
Police control of the population outside the cities was assisted by a pass system. Such passes were issued by local committees and were required for travel among villages, districts, and provinces. Frequent checkpoints by police and by military personnel along principal routes ensured compliance by travelers. Violators of the pass system were subjected to brief incarceration upon being apprehended and to heightened surveillance upon returning home. According to defectors, however, checkpoint personnel were susceptible to bribery.
Data as of December 1987