The state of affairs in the area of law and order was highlighted in the Prime Minister Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley’s state of the nation address to the parliament on Monday.
Lyonchhen’s presentation underlined that the government has provided the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) every possible assistance and support including weaponry, communication equipment, and transportation etc. to ensure and further a sustainable and safer living environment.
The statistics of incidents recorded and those visibly in existence, however, does not seem to be reward the hard work put in by the RBP to create a safer community for the people.
Going by the current scenario in terms of crime rate in the capital and other parts of the country, Bhutan is fast losing its reputation of being a safe haven for the people.
Every day stabbing cases, vandalism of lhakhang, murder and domestic violence have made headlines in the local media.
Road shows on crime prevention, disbanding of the gangs, police –youth partnership, police – parent’s partnership, launching of police patrol on mountain bikes in April 2011 in Thimphu and launching of the ‘Nationwide Highway Patrol’ in April 2011 were some of the initiatives of the police to create a safe community for the people.
In order to strengthen crime prevention and to maintain law and order, RBP has established new divisions and Units like, Narcotics Drugs and Vice Division, Women and Children Protection Division, Research and Planning Division, Human Resource Development Division, Crime Prevention Unit, Cyber Crime Unit, Dog Squad Unit, Forensic and DNA Unit, and Special Reserve Police Force (SRPF).
The RBP also launched Community Police Centers at Changjiji, Taba, and Khasadrapchu in the capital last year, and established Women and Child Protection Units in Paro and Phuentsholing respectively which has helped people to garner their services efficiently.
The RBP also introduced an online crime and criminal information system (CCIS) in 20 Dzongkhag, which has improved delivery of public protection services and created a useful data base for the organization.
Despite all these initiatives it is a matter of deep concern that the crime rate in general across 26 categories that are monitored by the RBP has been rising in absolute numbers from a low of 2,360 in 2008 to 4,697 cases in 2011.
There was, however, a slight drop in the crime rate last year.
Increase in the crime rate was attributed to major socio-demographic trends like massive rural-urban youth migration that detaches youth from their strong village and social networks and often leaves them rootless and isolated in their new urban abodes. With no job, these unemployed youth are forced to commit crime and get hooked into drug abuse and etc.
Chencho Dema / Thimphu