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Bhutan: Police Force
Country Study > Chapter 5 > National Security > Police Force


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

Last Updated: September 1991

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Bhutan was first published in 1991. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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