The links between police culture and political power in modern Thailand will be examined at a Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security (CEPS) seminar at Griffith University’s Mt Gravatt campus on Wednesday, June 9.

CEPS Associate Investigator Nicholas Farrelly from ANU, will discuss ideas about democracy, law and social order in light of recent events in Bangkok and the ongoing political turmoil in Thailand.

“It was not until 2001 that Thailand was governed by its first police officer Prime Minister, His Excellency Police Lieutenant Colonel Dr Thaksin Shinawatra,” Mr Farrelly said.

“When in office, he trumpeted a suite of electorally successful policies, many defined by a decisive and uncompromising ‘law enforcement’ mentality.

“Emboldened by his intimate connections to some of Thailand’s major security agencies, Thaksin implemented a bloody ‘war on drugs’ and responded to the re-escalation of sectarian violence in the country’s southern-most provinces.”

As Prime Minister he came to exemplify a distinctive set of relationships between the Thai government and the electorate.

“The economic and social aspects of those relationships have been widely examined, but there has been comparatively little analytical attention to Thaksin’s performance as Prime Ministerial police officer,” Mr Farrelly said.

His recent research has focused on the borderlands where China, India and Southeast Asia meet. In 2006 he co-founded New Mandala, a blog which has grown to become the preeminent website for academic discussions of mainland Southeast Asia.

Mr Farrelly is currently completing a number of other major projects, and recently submitted his doctorate at Oxford University.

WHAT: “Police and power in Thailand: Law enforcement and security through the Thaksin wars, 2001-2010”

WHEN: Wednesday, June 9, 12pm-1pm

WHERE: Room 5.01, Social Sciences Building (M10), Mt Gravatt campus