Tashi Dema

Yesterday, the National Assembly decided not to recommend the need for female representation in the highest decision-making body of police, the Police Service Board.

As the house continued its deliberation on the Royal Bhutan Police (Amendment) Bill 2021, some members raised the need to recommend a female officer and constable for gender inclusiveness in the board.

The Social and Cultural Committee members, who reviewed the Bill, submitted there should be a female officer as a board member.

Khamey-Lunana MP Yeshey Dem, who is a member of the committee, said although there are many female officers and constables, there have been no female officers on the board up to now. “Many female police personnel said there is no one on the board to represent them.”

Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji, who is chairperson of the National Women and Children Commission, said it is important to include a female officer in the Act for gender equality.

Athang-Thedtsho MP Kinley Wangchuk said it is important to include a female officer and constable on the board for equal representation.

However, Speaker Wangchuk Namgyel shot down the proposal, reasoning the board members would ensure gender equality. “Including it in the Act would indicate the board members have not taken that into consideration. If we do this, we might have to include women everywhere.”

There are about 30 police female officers and more than 400 female constables and non-commissioned officers.

Sources from police said the board always had a female member until now, although it was not specified.

The board would also have two non-commissioned officers and a civilian on the board.

Meanwhile, it was also decided that no person from the Royal Bhutan Police should engage in political activities or align with a political party, organisation, or candidate.

It was also decided that police should submit their crime reports to local leaders in their respective areas.

The NA will deliberate the Bill today.