Council: Five policemen are either on suspension or under trial for various crimes.

The ministry has revealed this in a written response to the National Council (NC), which in the wake of media reports of police personnel being involved in crimes, had enquired what actions were taken on the accused. The house received the written response earlier this month.

Two police personnel, Gopa Singye Phub and Chuma Om Nath Khatiwara of Division XI of the Thimphu police station have been accused of supplying drugs to prisoners.

The gopa has been charge-sheeted and is under trail. The case of the chuma has been referred back to the police by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and an inquiry is ongoing.

Pelpon Karma Chophel of Chamgang central jail “attempted to supply” six packets of chewing tobacco. He has been suspended from service and the case is under investigation.

In one case that happened at the Thimphu police station, two police constables were found forging documents for the release of a prisoner earlier this year.  They are Chuma Tenzin Phuntsho and Chuma Kinley Dorji of Division XI.

Both have been suspended and are under trial.

The home ministry wrote that the incidences are “not at all alarming” and that all the cases involving police personnel have been dealt with as per the law like any other citizens.

“In fact, the matter is taken very seriously and dealt with very strictly,” the response reads.

Any personnel found involved in any criminal activity is suspended immediately and their pay and allowances are withdrawn. The housing facility is also withdrawn, and the personnel upon conviction are terminated without any benefit.

The NC is of the view that involvement of police personnel in such acts will not only impede the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) in delivering its services effectively but could cause loss of public trust and confidence in police.

While acknowledging the commitment and dedication of the RBP, the NC wrote to the home ministry that the recent media reports on RBP personnel’s involvement in crimes was “worrying”. The incidences, the NC said are a reflection of “possible failure and flaws” in the organisation.

To promote exemplary principles and integrity, the home ministry stated the RBP frequently holds sensitisation programmes for its personnel.

However, the home ministry denied that the RBP has come across any police personnel being involved in deporting “illegal labourers”. “Incidences of illegal labourers entering through the checkpoints happen due to free entry and exit of IMTRAT and DANTAK vehicles without checking,” it is stated.

The RBP has not come across any complaint of torture and harassment of detainees by police personnel. Police personnel are briefed periodically on Section 414 and 462) of Penal Code of Bhutan, 2004 and Section 85 of the RBP Act 2009, which forbids harassment, torture and mistreatment of detainees.

The response states that while the RBP acknowledges the presence of domestic violence in the camps and colonies, it is “not very rampant”. Officers in all dzongkhags frequently conduct sensitisation programmes for both police personnel and spouses on prevention of domestic violence.

The NC had also raised concerns on prevalence of domestic violence in RBP colonies. The RBP recently sent 29 personnel on compulsory retirement for alcohol and domestic violence related cases.

MB Subba