Excessive work lands Indian Police in mental and physical agony

The life of an average Indian policeman is not that glamorous and healthy; excessive and stressful working has led to adverse effects on the mental and physical health of policemen, according to “Status of Policing in India Report 2019”.

On an average, the police personnel worked about 14 hours a day. The report prepared by Common Cause and Lokniti programme of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies said that about 80 per cent of the police force worked more than eight hours daily. It also says that Nagaland was the only state that was an exception in respect of working hours. The status report shows that about one in two police personnel worked overtime and a majority of them were not paid for the overtime work.

In the report, it has been pointed out that 37 per cent of the police force is willing to shift to another job if they get another with the same salary. When 52 per cent of the male police force had no weekly off, 48 per cent of the female force reported the same.  In respect of weekly off, about 80 per cent of Maharashtra police personnel got at least one day off.

The Status of Policing in India Report 2019 states that more than half of the family members who were surveyed had reported not to have had a holiday for the last three years. As many as 40 per cent said that they have not visited their relatives in the last three years.

Another issue that is highlighted in the report is that training and resources for maintaining law and order, investigation and crime control was inadequate in majority of the states. Moreover political pressure was also reported to adversely affect the function of the police force.

With respect to strength, the report said that the police in the country had only three fourth of the actual numbers. The number of vacancies in the higher ranks was more than the vacancies in the constable ranks.  It also notes that only 6.4 percent of the entire police force in the country was given in-service training in the last five years.  In police strength, Delhi and Kerala had the highest percentage of 98.3 and 97.9 of the sanctioned numbers.  Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh had the least number of police personnel. The report states that Haryana and Tamil Nadu topped the percentage in training. However, Kerala, Bihar, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Uttarakand were the worst states in imparting training. It was also reported that the percentage of in-house training also showed a declining trend in the states of West Bengal, Kerala and Maharashtra.

The report also focuses on the infrastructure and other facilities in police stations across the country. Though India was far ahead in Information Technology, the report notes that a lot of police stations in the country still had no access to computers, wireless, telephones or even vehicles. The Status of Policing in India Report 2019 states that wireless sets were not available in about 70 police stations in the 21 states that the study was conducted. When 214 Station Houses had no access to phones, about 24 stations did not have access to both phones and wireless. It was found that about 240 stations had no access to vehicles.

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