1,640 applicants for 200 vacancies

Ugyen Penjor

Not long ago, the post of a constable, locally called chuma, is a job for the illiterate or those with functional literacy.

It has changed.

The Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) last month announced 200 vacant posts for constables. Officials are overwhelmed with a record number of 1,640 young men and women applying for the post.

The RBP wanted 100 male and 100 female, largely to replace constables who would be required as trainers for the Gyalsung project. 833 women and 807 applied for the job including two university graduates.

The minimum education qualification announced was Class X, those who successfully completed Class X. Apart from the two university graduates, (one withdrew) hundreds of Class XII graduates applied for the post.

Among them were 44 men and 450 women who completed Class XII before the list was shortened through two rounds of screening. As of Tuesday evening, the human resource committee shortlisted 300 men and 300 women for the physical fitness test.

While the high rate of youth unemployment could be the reason for the rush, police officials also attribute the number to reforms in the Royal Bhutan Police, the improved image of police and better benefits. Head of human resource, Lieutenant Colonel Karma Leewang, said the image of police has changed while initiatives like involving the community and focus-driven policing has helped.

Lt Colonel Karma Leewang also said that new leadership and new concepts like intelligence-led policing, a modern and proactive model of law enforcement, has improved policing making it an attractive job.

A police constable today earns about Nu 20,000 a month in salary, besides other benefits like free uniform, free meals and house rent (for those who complete three years in service).

Royal Thimphu College graduate Deepak Powrel said that he had always wanted to join the armed force. Deepak tried after Class X and XII, but having qualified for college, his parents dissuaded him. “I applied out of interest. It was always my interest to serve in the armed force,” said the BBA graduate who claims to excel in sports.

Another candidate said policing is a decent and respectable job besides the revised salary has made it attractive. “It is an opportunity to serve the country,” he said. “The salary is better than what some officers earn in government or private offices.

On the academic qualification, Lt. Colonel Karma Leewang said education qualification could come as extra advantage as more and more senior police officials retire and get replaced by new qualified constables.

The RBP also recruited 200 constables last year.