A change in attitude sought of lower level personnel
Say Kuzuzangpola : SP Tshering Dorji speaks to law enforcers
Royal Bhutan Police 21 July, 2010 - “*Tshoed, tshoed*… move your car,” is a disrespectful common phrase many vehicle drivers, especially ones, who don’t drive the flashier ones, receive from traffic policemen.
“That’s not how you do it,” said Paro town’s superintendent of police (SP), Tshering Dorji, “you say, *kuzuzangpo*, you can’t park your car here la. Be polite and courteous but firm, even if it’s someone in a big car, and the driver is wearing sun glasses.”
The SP was speaking to about fifty of his law enforcers at an event intended to change attitude and behaviour in the police force, yesterday in Paro.
With the coming of democracy and fundamental rights, the RBP has been involved in a campaign to get its police personnel, especially at the lower levels, to change their attitude towards the public. A change of attitude, Brigadier Kipchu Namgyel, the police chief himself, has admitted is the greatest challenge facing the RBP.
In June, SPs from all dzongkhags were called to Thimphu for a briefing on the campaign. Recognising that most low level personnel have limited educational backgrounds, or are long serving personnel with traditional policing concepts, the SPs were informed to simplify their methods in attempting to change attitudes.
Paro’s SP, Tshering Dorji, used a humorous and anecdotal approach to get his police audience to understand the importance of the change the RBP is attempting.
“A pretty woman comes to report something, you quickly offer her a seat, and ask her: how many kids do you have? She replies: Three. You say, no! You can’t have three with a body like that.”
Once the laughter had died down, especially among the male members of the police audience, the SP said, “Our job is not to get that kind of information, there is to be no flirting whatsoever.”
He pointed out that cases dealing with woman needed extra “sensitivity” by the police. He said female victims should only be dealt with by police personnel of the same gender; or. if not possible, to include a female witness, when being addressed by a male police personnel. SP Tshering Dorji also instructed his audience on the rights of children and the elderly.
The SP particularly emphasised the rights of the public. “If someone comes to the station, asking for information on the road to Phuentsholing, don’t say, ‘I don’t know, go ask RSTA’. Instead, just use your walkie talkie to get a status report from the checkpoints,” explained the SP. “That person has a right to that information.”
Speaking to Kuensel, SP Tshering Dorji, said that achieving attitude change “may take some time.” He added, “It’s difficult to change personal characteristics.”
SP Tshering Dorji said that, in the meantime, rude police personnel the public encounter should be reported to superiors. But he added that the public should refrain from provoking police personnel, especially if they have just broken rules.
By Gyalsten K Dorji