Country Listing

Bhutan Table of Contents


Police Force


Traffic control on Norzin Lam, Thimphu's main street
Courtesy Bhutan Travel, Inc., New York (Marie Brown)

The Royal Bhutan Police was established with personnel reassigned from the army on September 1, 1965, a day thereafter marked as Police Day throughout Bhutan. Starting with only a few hundred personnel in 1965, by the late 1970s the force had more than 1,000 constables and officers. Recruits--grade six graduates and above--were trained at the Police Training Centre in Zilnon Namgyeling, Thimphu District, and, after 1981, at a police training center in Jigmiling, Geylegphug District. The curriculum consisted of weapons training, tae kwon do, physical training with and without arms, law, simple investigation techniques, "turn-out drill," check-post duties, traffic control, public relations, and driglam namzha. Recruits were also trained for other unspecified duties and to escort important visitors.

Since the establishment of the police force in 1965, Indian police advisers and instructors have been used. Starting in 1975, Bhutanese instructors, trained in India for one year, began training recruits at the Zilnon Namgyeling Police Training Centre. Advanced training for selected police officers in fields such as criminology, traffic control, and canine corps has taken place in India and other countries. In 1988, following specialized training in India, a female second lieutenant established a fingerprint bureau in Thimphu. Besides having access to training at the Indian Police Academy in Hyderabad, some students were also sent to the Police Executive Development Course in Singapore.

Besides performing their standard police functions, members of the Royal Bhutan Police also served as border guards and firefighters and provided first aid. In 1975, in response to the increased number of traffic accidents resulting from the development of roads and the increase number of motor vehicles, the police established an experimental mobile traffic court staff with Royal Bhutan Police personnel and a judicial official to make onthe -spot legal decisions.

Organizationally subordinate to the Royal Bhutan Army, the Royal Bhutan Police in 1991 was under the command of Major General Lam Dorji, who was also chief of operations of the army, under the title inspector general or commandant. There were police headquarters in each district and subdistrict.

Data as of September 1991