‘Our vision is to make Bhutan the safest to live and work in South Asia’

His Majesty The King promoted Colonel Chimi Dorji, the Chief of Police, to the rank of Brigadier at a ceremony in Tashichhodzong on February 18. Brigadier Chimi Dorji was commissioned into the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) in 1985. He was then appointed as the Chief of Police in 2016 and he is also a recipient of Drakpoi Norbu Yoedsel in 2013. Brigadier Chimi Dorji talks to Business Bhutan’s Senior Reporter Chencho Dema on the challenges confronting the police force, the vision for Royal Bhutan Police, new initiatives and the changing nature of crimes with advent of technology among others. 

Q. Congratulations on your recent promotion. As the Chief of Police, you carry the responsibility of leading the entire police force. What do you think, both personally and professionally, is the most challenging thing for you as the Chief of Police?

A. Thank you. To lead a force as big as the RBP is an honor and a blessing bestowed upon me by His Majesty The King. In the last 34 years of my career, I have seen enough to realize that our biggest challenge is rapid urbanization and the increasing numbers of smarter and intelligent people. I, as the head of the law enforcement organization, have to ensure that the officers and other ranks keep themselves abreast of the latest crime prevention technology and at the same time create a cordial working atmosphere for both the officers and other ranks. I must also ensure that the ranks and position do not act as an obstacle while working as a team. In this day and age, challenges are many and solutions are few, but so long we work as a team, the challenges however serious, are not impossible to overcome.

Q. The Royal Bhutan Police is an important institution that maintains law and order in the country. What is your primary vision for this institution?

A. Our vision for the RBP is to make Bhutan the safest to live and work in South Asia. In other words, we want to ensure that every Bhutanese or any visitor to feel safe and secure wherever they go, work or live.

Q. Crime prevention and investigations are primary roles of RBP. What are some of the new initiatives and ideas in this field that the RBP has started in recent years?

A. Everything around us is constantly evolving and changing. So are crimes and methods adopted by criminals. Over the years, the RBP has initiated many prevention programs which everyone is aware of.  In this day and age, crime transcends borders and criminals are highly mobile. Criminal mobility has become our biggest challenge and combating it requires a strategic approach and method. So, in the last two years or so, the RBP has been working hard to create a new approach of policing. We are ready to launch this new initiative in Thimphu and very soon you will be hearing a lot about “Intelligence Led Policing” approach.  Thimphu police division will soon be conducting a stakeholders’ meeting to sensitize the stakeholders on what the police will do hereafter and what the stakeholders should do to help us combat crime effectively and efficiently.  We will be introducing this new approach in Thimphu as a pilot project and this will be replicated in all Dzongkhags thereafter.

Q. Drugs and substance abuse fuelled by rampant smuggling and peddling continue to pose great risks to the people, particularly youth. Deaths due to drug overdose are also a huge concern. As the Chief of Police, how do you intend to curb this deadly menace? What are the solutions?

A. Since 2013, the RBP has been consistently battling this problem and on the directives of the government, we are carrying out nationwide crackdown operation. This has been a very successful approach whereby many traffickers/peddlers have been arrested and consequently convicted.   We are fully aware of the social problems posed by addiction to drugs and other substances by youth and we also realize that police alone cannot solve the problem. There is a serious need for a multi-sectoral approach to this problem as one or two agencies are too inadequate to fight this menace.

Q. With the advent of technology, there is a visible increase in cyber crimes and online offences. Cyber crimes especially in financial markets could have disastrous consequences. Does the RBP have enough expertise, capacity and resources to curb cyber crimes in the country?

A. Advancement in technology affords the criminals to adopt and integrate new techniques into their modus operandi. If you are not careful, there are hundreds and thousands of cyber criminals waiting to pounce on you. Our people use social media websites so rampantly and without much concern and care. They do not realize that, the moment you enter a website and create an account, you become so vulnerable and susceptible to being cyber bullied or a victim to a pedophile or a hacker. In this day and age, hackers are more qualified, better educated than the creators themselves. 

Q. Finally, what is that one thing you would want to change or improve in the police force? 

A. We have been an officer centric organization. The OC in a dzongkhag does almost everything by himself starting from receiving complaints, registering a case and finally conducting the entire investigation. The other ranks are only given clerical jobs and other tasks like carry out patrolling, assisting the officer in arrest, searching and seizure.  This overburdens the OC with all the cases and he/she cannot focus on a single case properly. Due to this, the failure rate in our investigation is increasing. We now have high school pass outs in our ranks and here onwards we intend to select capable NCOs and other ranks and give them specialized training so that they become assistant investigating officers to the OC. This will relieve the officer from being overburdened and give him/her enough time and opportunity to focus on other bigger and more pertinent issues of policing.