RBP to fix accountability
This year, so far 15 inmates have escaped from various locations in the country, 1 from Chamgang central prison, 1 from the hospital, 1 from Samdrupjongkhar, 10 from Thimphu Central Police’s detention center and 2 recently from South Thimphu.
Of the 15 escapees, police managed to re-arrest 13 of them, while 2 escapees who escaped from Chamgang and Samdrupjongkhar are still at large.
Due to such frequent incidences, the police will thoroughly investigate the lapses and hold everyone accountable. It was learnt that there are lapses from the police side, in terms of monitoring and supervision. There was also an issue of police personnel not doing their duties properly.
In the recent incident 10 detainees escaped on 22 November from the Thimphu city police’s detention center by cutting the window grill of the toilet using a hacksaw blade to make their escape.
Sources said that one of the detainees was shackled, however, he managed to cut the shackles and escaped.
Meanwhile, DCOP Crime, Colonel Passang Dorji, shared that now they are seeing from every angle and after a thorough investigation and enquiry, they will find out the prominent lapses that is repeatedly happening.
“We are considering from the establishment’s point of views which is the surrounding and location of the prison. We will also check on the security lapse. And accordingly, we are going to table it and see what we can do to stop this from happening,” he said.
Nevertheless, he said that a budget constraint is a big challenge, wherein there is not enough budget to implement the plans. However, there are many things which can be done without budget.
To investigate on the involvement of police personnel, they will look from the angle of collusion and corruption. They will enquire and try to find out from the prisoners and troops.
He further said, “The involvement of our men will be rare of the rarest, but we are not over ruling on this. If found guilty, we will fix them accountable and they will be dealt as per the law. There will be no exception from our side, and according to the severity of the offence, they might get terminated.”
There is no guarantee that a person who once committed a crime will not commit again. Therefore, it is better to let them go, he added.
The Police is going to propose for a new secure location of the detention center away from town.
“The escapees had access to mobile phones through which we managed to track them. We do not deny that prisoners have had access to mobile phone inside. We will investigate that as well,” Colonel Passang Dorji said.
The driver who transported the escapees till Kamji in the recent incident will also be investigated and charged accordingly. Police managed to arrest the driver with a help of a non-Bhutanese escapees who was arrested from Takti. He was left behind as the vehicle was full. The vehicle is under police custody.
The public plays a vital role and continuous support from the public in the future, irrespective of situation, is required, he said.
As per Section 106 (b) of the Prison Act of Bhutan 2009, attempt to escape or escape is considered as a major offence. Escapees will be penalized as per the law.