Annual crime conference focuses on analyzing, understanding and fighting crime

The Annual Crime Conference for Superintendents of Police (SPs) and Director of Training Institute, Royal Bhutan Police (RBP), held in Thimphu from May18 to 21, focused on various means to prevent crime in the society.

The conference discussed crime trends, such as the increase in crime against property, like larceny, burglary and battery.  The crime against property is the most common crime which is committed in almost all the dzongkhags.

Vandalism of chortens and robberies of lhakhangs are on the increase, while cyber crimes, smuggling of sandalwood and elephant tusks are emerging crimes. The offence of possession and illegal transaction of controlled substance are increasing in some of the dzongkhags, like Chukha, Thimphu and Paro. The conference also discussed the increase in stabbing cases in Thimphu and the increasing offences committed by mentally disturbed persons.

The proactive measures, implemented by RBP, are counseling and briefing of the prisoners before their release, and monitoring of the ex-convicts particularly hardcore and habitual offenders, crime prevention activities, like PYPP, POSYP, PPP and FOP are to continue in all the dzongkhags. Patrolling, door-to-door visit, on a regular basis, and sensitization of shopkeepers, bar owners, hoteliers, entertainment centers, scrap dealers, schools, taxi driver, bus drivers and truckers are to keep going.

The measures also include timely distribution of crime prevention brochures to the residents in dzongkhags, and sensitization and awareness programs for the lhakhang caretakers.

It also includes crime prevention awareness briefing to the GYT and DYT, frequent and surprise checks by traffic personnel, and zero tolerance for traffic offences on Fridays is to continue. Crime mapping and analysis, crime prevention awareness to the foreigner expatriates (labourers), and establishment of community police centers will be initiated by RBP headquarter.

The measure includes Mobile Community Policy (MCP), with the aim to take policing services to all gewogs, close coordination with the Indian counterparts for the divisions in bordering areas.

The conference also found the challenges confronted by RBP, such as the absence of a forensic science laboratory, lack of latest and advanced scientific aids to investigation, lack of resources to carry out MCP programs in gewogs, remote location of lhakhangs and chorten, and rise in offences committed by mentally unsound person. The reluctance of the public in cooperating with the police was also found to be a challenge. However, the conference found the public response is now improving due to the community policing programs.

Despite challenges, RBP is determined to continue with investigation by the Special Investigation Team on Kung-Sung-Thukten, zero tolerance on tariff violation, drug crack down operation, crime reduction competition amongst divisions, and crime prevention measures

RBP will also conduct crime analysis, assessment and crime mapping so that proper strategies are worked out to prevent and fight crime. In line with this, the RBP headquarter will purchase the latest and advanced scientific aids to investigation, and request government for a special budget to procure equipment and software, like a crime analysis software. The installation of CCTV with alarm system and shock sensors in lhakhangs and chortens are in the plans.

The issues relating to the commencement of two-way check of vehicles after midnight at Chunzom checkpost, lhakhangs without a Keonyer (caretaker) in the dzongkhags, unsound persons loitering in the towns and coming in conflict with law, and beggars on rise in cities and towns, was presented by Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel to the Minister for Home and Cultural Affairs, Damcho Dorji.

During the conference, the SP Division I, Paro and SP division XI, Thimphu reported on the need to commence past midnight vehicle checking at Chunzom checkpost. It was reported that crimes, especially the crimes against cultural and national heritage, burglary, drugs and scandalwood smuggling, are becoming rampant. It was found that the criminals are using motor vehicles to escape to different locations from the crime scene, which the RBP said, usually takes places mostly after midnight hours.

During the conference it was reported by SPS that there are approximately several Lhakhangs without keonyor across the country and community any gewog administration are not in the position to look after Lhakhangs, in the absence of keonyers these Lhakhangs will become easy targets for criminals

During the conference, it was also reported that there are about approximately 17 mentally challenged individuals across country. The SPs reported that they are causing public nuisances and sometimes commit assault and battery. It was submitted that there   need to have specialized agency to handle and care such people coming in conflict with law. It was reported that relatives are refusing to care them.

The SPs during the conference also reported that there is an increase of beggars in the towns and the city. They reported that it reflects lack of care and support by relatives, society and the government. If such practices are allowed, it will encourage able bodied individuals into such activities

The Minister said that if polices are doing the duty as per the law, ministry has no objection and  if RBP doubts that there is suspicious about crime, whether it is 12 am power lies in police to check.

He said that Police should also understand that some people travel at night due to emergency

He said to avoid unnecessary problem to travelers, my suggestion is the checking can be done maybe after two or three days

He said that all the people should understand that it is done inorder to reduce the crime.

He said that government is very much concerned on the vandalism and robbery of Lhakhangs, whether it is private, public or government Lhakhangs, it is our property.

He said that Lhakhangs without care takers, Government will try to hand over to community incase if people cannot handle ministry will discuss thoroughly how to care the Lhakhangs.

Regarding the unsound people loitering in the towns, he said that government needs to make policy and in case of beggars we should discuss in the cabinet.

In 2013, 3288 crimes were reported in the country whereas 2775 were reported in 2014 which is 27% decrease from 2013.

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