The Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) established gewog based policing (GBP) in far-flung places of Haa and Paro for the safety and security of the villagers.

RBP’s senior superintendent of police (SSP) in Paro, Colonel Pasang Dorji, said the pilot project is initiated in Talung village in Bji gewog, Bebjee and Gakiling in Sangbaykha gewog in Haa, and Ramtsakha in Tsento gewog and Bitekha in Paro since April this year.

About four police personnel including a non-commissioned officer are deployed in each of these centres.

Colonel Pasang Dorji said addressing choeten and lhakhang vandalism is one of the main objectives of the GBP initiative. “It is also aimed at immediately responding to the villagers’ needs in terms of law enforcement, security and safety.”

He said burglary, battery and domestic violence cases are common in villages. “Many such cases in remote villages go unreported because villagers cannot easily reach police for help.”

The SSP said that the nearest police station or community police centres are located far from these villages and villagers hardly report crime cases other than choeten and lhakhang vandalism cases.

He said that in the past, villagers in Bebjee and Gakiling had to go all the way to the Haa dzongkhag police station, which takes about five days to reach on foot from the villages, to report the crime.

He said that although Sangbaykha and Gakiling are connected by motorable road, the villages still need a GBP so that villagers have easy access to police.

Bebjee and Gakiling reported a total of 23 cases including burglary and battery to police in 2016. Talung village reported five cases while Bitekha and Ramtsakha in Tsento in Paro reported 10 and 17 cases each.

Bebjee and Gakiling reported six cases to date since the establishment of the GBP. Talung reported one case so far.

Bitekha and Ramtsakha reported four and five cases in the last three months after the RBP deployed police personnel.

The SSP said smuggling cases, especially of sandalwood and gold across the borders in areas are reduced after the opening of the GBP.

Dechen Tshomo