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A proposal to procure more CCTV cameras and electric patrol cars have been made

Thimphu has the highest crime rate with 58.8 percent of the country’s total crime cases occurring in Thimphu last year.

The incidence of crime in the capital is expected to drop by the end of this fiscal year after Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay accepted the home ministry’s proposal to install more closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras.

The ministry proposed two solutions to help meet its at-risk targets to reduce crime by 10 percent annually in 2017-18.

Home secretary Sonam Topgay and Police Chief Colonel Chimi Dorji asked for electric patrol cars and additional budget to install CCTV cameras in Thimphu city during the ministry’s midterm review of the Annual Performance Agreement (APA) on February 7.

Lyonchhen instructed Gross National Happiness Commission to source funds from various international agencies to buy the cameras.

“If at all the GNHC is unable to get the budget then we’ll need to allocate from our own budget,” Lyonchhen said.

In the 11th Plan, the RBP committed to reduce crime by 10 percent annually and were on track.

However, home secretary Sonam Topgay said that the incidence of crime has always been increasing. “Between June and November 2017, crime increased by 76 percent,” he said.

Sonam Topgay said that the increase in the incidence of crime midway through the 11th Plan was due to a change in policy in 2016, where registration of all cases has been made mandatory.

Colonel Chimi Dorji said the Police decided to register every reported case since the incidence of crime is an indication of the health of the society.

Home secretary said that providing six electric patrol cars, and more CCTV for Thimphu would help the ministry meet the target.

Of the six, three would be stationed in Thimphu while one each would be placed in Paro, Phuentsholing, and Gelephu police stations.

“Today, the RBP is unable to carry out mobile patrol constantly due to insufficient petrol and lubricants (POL),” he said.

With the electric vehicles, RBP would enhance mobile patrols day and night with least impact on POL and the environment, he said.

The additional cameras are expected to assist the police in monitoring wider areas during odd hours, street fights, and street vandalism.

“Reduction of crime in Thimphu would definitely bring down the national crime rate,” Sonam Topgay said.

Colonel Chimi Dorji said one of the main reasons for high crime rate is the complacency of property owners. “In most of the areas in Thimphu, cars are left parked along the roads as landlords don’t provide a garage for cars, which gives opportunities for miscreants,” he said.

He said there are many critical areas in the capital that need the cameras. “The cameras have helped us detect many crimes,” he said.

He said that meeting the target was easy for RBP but it would not bode well for the country.

The electric cars and the CCTV cameras would also reduce traffic-related offences, which increased by 41 percent last year also attributed to the drastic increase in the number of vehicles.

Of the 29 targets, the ministry has achieved one, and works are on track for 26 others.

The ministry has implemented the national integrity and anti-corruption strategy. He said the ministry’s employees have been sensitised on the ethics and integrity tools.

“The ministry has started maintaining gift registers as per the gift rules,” he said. The ministry also has a committee for grievance redressal to review and resolve the grievance of the employees.

Of the Nu 3,002 million (M) revised budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year, the ministry has received Nu 2,020M and spent Nu 1,309 or 43.6 percent.

Tshering Palden

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