Q&A: As Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel completed his tenure as the sixth Chief of Police yesterday, he spoke to Kuensel’s Kinga Dema on his accomplishments and challenges during his tenure and his post-retirement plans.
How would you define your legacy as the first Chief of Police holding the rank of Brigadier?
I was appointed as the sixth Chief of Police on 19 April 2008 at the rank of Colonel and promoted to Brigadier by His Majesty The King on September 18, 2009. People say that RBP has created history to have the first Chief of Police with the rank of Brigadier, but it’s all because of the blessing, wisdom, and guidance from the Monarchs. After having served the RBP for 35 years and 8 months, I am happy to retire today, gracefully with great honour and dignity. I am just one individual and the contributions that I made for the modernisation of RBP is therefore very negligible. However, as I leave I am happy to say that RBP today is more professional and strong as a law enforcement agency.
What were some of the challenges you faced and what challenges do you foresee for your successor?
During my tenure, men management and tackling the increasing crime was the most challenging task. However, under the guidance of the visionary monarchs, valuable support from the government, and subordinate officers and men, I could overcome these challenges easily. The challenges for the successor will basically remain same and much depends on how far one can build confidence of the public, which is important in fighting against the increasing crime.
You attempted to do away with the orderly system in RBP. Why and what were the challenges?
Section 166 of the RBP Act, 2009 state that “A police person shall be entitled to service benefits and allowances prescribed in the Police Service Rules and Regulations which will be at par with RBA and RBG.” As such, it was found that RBP alone couldn’t take a decision. It was intended only to boost the morale of the force and save manpower. However, under the noble initiative of His Majesty The King, officers above the rank of Lt. Colonel who were entitled to two orderlies are now reduced to one and are given an allowance in lieu of the second. Basically there are no challenges, except any proposal must be in accordance to the norms applicable to the three armed forces.
Relationship between police and media has not always been great. How do you think the two can work together?
During my tenure, my relation with the media has been always great. I received their valuable support to take forward RBP crime prevention measures and convey our messages to the public. For RBP, media is indispensable and similarly for media, RBP is indispensable, as media requires accurate news from us. The two must work closely to provide correct views to the public. We must remember that both RBP and the media are servants of the public, with the only exception that media is a commercial based firm while the RBP disseminates crime prevention measures through the media. I would like to personally thank the media for their support to the RBP. It is important for all media to understand that in some cases, RBP cannot immediately share the crime news with the media in the interest of the investigation, which the media must understand.
What have you done to ease access to public information held by police?
The Press and Publicity cell was established in February 2015 under the Chief of Police and an officer was appointed as the Media Focal officer. This arrangement enabled the media to contact the focal officer instead of contacting the SPs and OCs. The Media Focal officer was given the responsibilities of giving press releases and the crime news as and when requested by the media. In addition, press conferences were also held from time to time.
You leave behind the start of a CCTV system to deter crime. During your tenure, what were your observations on crime? Why are we seeing more dangerous crimes? How do we stop it?
Crime is a natural phenomenon that is bound to happen with the rapid socio-economic development, but what matters is, how best you prevent it. The more preventive measures are put in place, the more crimes are being committed as it has multiple causing factors. However, RBP has managed to reduce the crime in the last couple of years with the guidance of His Majesty The King and support from the government, public and our youth. Looking at the crime trend, battery/assault has been the highest, followed by larceny, and the third highest has been the crime related to drugs. I am seriously concerned with the crimes related to drugs that are affecting our youth.
How do you plan to spend your post-retirement time? Will you be involved with the police in anyway?
So far, I do not have any plans but given the chance, I would love to talk to the youth, advising, counseling and guiding them to be responsible citizens, and not to come in conflict with the laws. I have worked for RBP more than half of my present age (62). As long as my successors, fellow officers and RBP personnel feel that there is a necessity to involve me in any policing activity, I am ready to do it, in my own small way and share some of the experiences gained in the last 36 years of service.