When 10 detainees made out easily out of the detention centre in Thimphu recently, the police got the curse, deservedly. When the police nabbed them all in a week’s time, the police deserve our praise.
But doubts and questions will remain; it is better that we have doubts and questions. How did the detainees get hold of a hacksaw blade with which they could reportedly escape from the toilet window, for example?
The RBP are in the midst of a serious campaign to bring down incidences of crime in the country, particularly youth-related offences. At one point in time, the RBP even came to the press saying that henceforth there will be a visible reeducation in crimes involving young people in the country.
And here we are, thrown wide open to our basic security problems. RBP officials have come on record that while the focus has shifted positively on curbing youth-related crimes, not just in the capital but also in remote villages far away from Thimphu, our security systems in detention and lock-up centres are falling.
It has been a nightmare for the RBP these past few months. Such a systematic failure must be brought to the anvil. Whoever is responsible must be brought to the task. Policing is about trust. When people lose trust in the policing system, we have given it a fecund ground for crimes to proliferate.
When detainees and inmates make past our “tall, sturdy, and high” walls, accountability should be fixed top down. In other countries, a CEO resigns voluntarily for a few seconds of power blackout although the problem could have been largely mechanical in nature.
We won’t be surprised if the guards at the detention or prison doors were in the wrong but it would be absolutely shocking if senior officers are not held accountable.
Any improvement in the country’s policing system is welcome, but the system of policing should be grounded in public trust.
When the media knew that 10 detainees had made out of a toilet window, it was hard for the media to get in touch with RBP. When RBP nabbed the escapees, the media were called immediately for coverage.
While we protect our own faces, we may be losing crucial time to address some of the problems that can be solved effectively and efficiently. When criminals are at large, we are putting our communities in danger.
However, the fact that the RBP could nab the escapees within 24 hours is amazing and truly deserving of our praise.