He was awarded two consecutive extensions for his excellent performance 

Retirement: After having strived for more than half of his life ensuring law and order in the community in various capacities, Chief of Police Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel left office yesterday at the age of 61.

In a solemn ceremony, Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel handed over his responsibilities to the officiating chief in the presence of his subordinates.

As the sixth Chief of Police, Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel leaves behind a rich legacy for the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) to carry forth. For someone who availed an opportunity to join RBP after being turned down thrice, retiring as the police chief is a significant accomplishment.

As he took the podium to address the congregation of police personnel and officers yesterday, Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel stood there with mixed emotions. “I am happy and sad as well,” he said.

He said it was sad that he was leaving the police force that was like part of his family after almost 36 years. “But the sun must return to where it rises,” he said.

Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel said that he was happy, as he had served the five-year post of police chief for eight years, eight months after it got extended twice, which was like a soelra from His Majesty The King. “So I leave with pride today, which is why I am happy.”

Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel who is from Tsento, Paro joined RBP in March 1980 after completing his Bachelors degree in Arts from Chandigarh, Punjab, India. He was commissioned a year later on January 5, 1981.

Since his appointment as the police chief in 2008, Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel took RBP to a different level through the introduction of various police-public and youth partnership programmes building people’s trust besides uplifting the morale of the police.

He was awarded two consecutive extensions as the police chief for his excellent performance.

Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel attributed the achievements and changes that he brought to RBP to the visionary Monarchs besides support from the government, people, fellow officers, police personnel and the media.

Right from a young age, Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel had always aspired to join the RBP. The first attempt was after completion of his eighth standard. However, he was denied admission. Still hopeful of an opportunity, he gave it another shot when he completed his 10th standard but was refused admission again.

The third attempt was after completing his 11th standard when he sat for the civil service examination. “But I was told to complete my graduation that would lead to better opportunity,” he said. As suggested, he then went for further studies and upon completing his degree, he joined the RBP.

In his concluding farewell speech, Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel reminded his subordinates and police personnel that as one of the three armed forces in the country, RBP must continue to serve the people. “We are servants of the people and in serving them well, we are fulfilling His Majesty’s vision,” he said.

Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel further said that drug related cases affecting youth was an issue close to his heart still, even as he retires. Highlighting that of the 1,611 people arrested for drug related cases as of June 24 this year, about 55 percent or 894 were youth, which is a concern.

The past five years saw a drastic drop in crime rates in the country from 4,697 cases in 2011 to 2,055 last year. However, the police and the public must work together, he said, urging people to continue supporting the police. “It’s a shared responsibility,” he said, while also seeking support from members of the various police partnership programmes.

Looking at the crime trends, he said, battery and assault has been the highest, followed by larceny, and the third highest has been crimes related to drugs. With regard to drug related crimes (illicit possession and trafficking) that are affecting the youth today, he said even with RBP’s launching of the drug crackdown operation since 2012, RBP alone cannot solve the growing menace of drugs.

Citing the saying that “every citizen is a policeman not in uniform and all policemen are citizens in uniform,” Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel said every citizen has to be a policeman not in uniform and to take up the responsibilities of both a citizen and parent, to tackle the drug problem.

More popular as a stern police officer, when asked on how he would describe the other side of him, Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel said he had underestimated himself as an unpopular police officer only to realise that it was not so until he came across people’s comments on social media. “Well, I’m an honest, simple son of a villager,” he said.  “And even after my retirement, I will lead a simple life.”

Kinga Dema