BANGKOK — It’s out with buzzcuts and in with longer locks for Thai police, as per a new regulation that came into effect on Tuesday (Oct 17).
After five years of a rule requiring male officers to shave the sides and backs of their heads, they will now be allowed to grow their hair up to 5cm long on top.
The kingdom’s newly appointed police chief Torsak Sukvimol said relaxing the haircut rules was a step towards modernising the force and making officers less identifiable to those seeking to target them.
“I’m afraid that investigators could only go undercover as a monk,” he joked.
Since 2018, all male officers have been required to have buzz cuts.
Thailand is a conservative country and government officials are required to adhere to strict uniform policies.
Mr Rangsiman Rome, whose Move Forward party has campaigned for relaxing the strict haircut rules for police, welcomed the move saying it was “a good first step”.
But he thinks officers should have the right to choose their hairstyles.
Police Cadet Academy dean of social sciences Sorat Klapwila said the change would likely be popular with officers.
“Some police officers needed to go to the hairdresser at least once a week,” he told AFP.
“This change will help them save money.”
In Thailand, junior officers can earn as little as US$250 (S$342) a month.
Mr Wuttipat Cheunjampla, 50, a police officer at Thong Lor police station in Bangkok’s wealthiest neighbourhood was unmoved by the new hair policy.
“It’s just a hairstyle. Maybe they could do something else that improves the livelihood of low-ranking police officers,” he said.
Chulalongkorn University professor Sumontip Chitsawang said the public was more concerned about police doing an effective job delivering justice and fighting crime.
“In the eyes of the people it’s not important,” he said. AFP