The 911 national emergency call number follows a draft legislation stating the single emergency call number for people to call throughout Thailand being approved by the cabinet and passed into Thai law.
Government deputy spokesman Maj-Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd said having a single emergency call number could help prevent confusion caused by the various emergency call numbers that are in use now.
The existing emergency numbers like 191 and 1669 will still be in use, but calls to these will be automatically redirected to 911.
In June a new police emergency assistance mobile application was launched, for people who need urgent police help or to alert a crime. The “Police i lert u” app is designed as a channel for people to communicate instantly with the police. It can be downloaded free on both Android and IOS systems. Users of the app need to register first to access the service.
In launching “Police i lert u”, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha said with a single click of the emergency service on the app loaded in the smartphone, police would arrive to help within 10 minutes. He said 5,000 patrol police stationed at 88 police stations throughout Bangkok will receive the alert from the click simultaneously.
The service would first be launched in Bangkok as a pilot project and later be expanded to cover major cities in the provinces.
The prime minister warned any false call or foul play could be traced easily by GPS tracking and those who made a false call would be penalized. Likewise, a false call made to the 911 emergency number will face legal action.
In December 2014 metropolitan police came up with a new safety campaign under the slogan “You’ll Never Walk Alone” with the aim of ensuring people feel safer and securer to walk on the city streets and involving mobile patrols around the clock by police patrolmen under the Metropolitan Police Bureau’s Patrol and Special Operation Division 191 or what is called “Patrolcop191”.
Calls can be reached to the duty police officers directly on 24 hour around the clock numbers operating with the service, in addition to the 191 number.
Police have also created official accounts on Facebook and LINE under the name “Patrolcop191” for people to give information on crimes, drugs or if they need help and in case of emergency. There is also a www.patrolcops191.com website.
Again there is a warning of tough action against false calls, with all incoming calls being recorded and surveillance cameras installed at various public telephone booths to enable police to track down fake callers.
Thailand has also launched a new 1111 hotline to receive complaints from foreigners in the country. The new hotline is in addition to the existing 1155 Tourist Police Call Centre, with both hotlines available 24 hours around the clock.
Foreigners are advised to call the 1111 hotline for non-emergency matters. It is staffed by representatives of all 20 government ministries, aimed at ensuring prompt response for all complaints received. Complaints received will be coordinated through the centre to related government agencies, state enterprises and non-governmental organizations.
Foreigners are advised to dial the 1155 hotline in cases of emergency. The Tourist Police Call Centre is ready to offer assistance to tourists and foreign residents in Thailand, and there are interpreters on standby to receive all emergency calls. If a case is beyond the centre’s jurisdiction, it will be referred to the respective government agencies.
The new services are part of the government’s efforts to review all safety measures and standards in the kingdom. The National Council for Peace and Order, the military council running Thailand since the 22 May 2014 coup, has also been active in efforts to improve the public transport system, saying it wants to rid the country of all injustice and bring happiness back to the people.
Throughout society these efforts toward better travel security, safety and service are being welcomed, including by many a law firm in Thailand. These firms provide legal services and advice to Thais and foreigners whether tourist or expat, on a range of topics from Thai law in general and Thai labour law to Thailand work permit and Thai visa service procedures, starting a business in Thailand and tax consulting.
At least one international law firm in Thailand advises executives or clients who are visiting from abroad to program local emergency numbers into their phone/mobile device as a precautionary measure – something it advises them to do for any foreign destination they visit.
While the tourist police and police are there to help, the Thai law firm encourages people to be pro-active when it comes to safety and security.