They are not the 9-to-5 people

They are not the 9-to-5 people

Dharmendra Kumar, Special Commissioner of Police (law and order), confirms that with a total strength of over 83,000 personnel, Delhi Police are one of the largest metropolitan police forces in the world. In an interview with Vishnu Sukumaran, he also said lower-ranking officers are overburdened and stressed all the time.

What is the main reason behind numerous complaints being raised by the officers?

The obvious fact is that on an average, lower-ranking officers work for at least 16 to 17 hours a day. Their profession is not like any other job, or the routine 9-to-5 one. The burgeoning residential settlements, enormous floating population and VVIP movement in the city add to the pressure.

If you notice, we also have to provide security for Parliament sessions, which are held for almost four months a year; and for many cricket matches like the ongoing Indian Premier League. So, Delhi Police personnel end up performing more duties than any other force in the country. We also need our staff to be ready for duty whenever any emergency comes up, as Delhi is also known to be the crime capital of the country. So most of them are asked to stay back at their barracks at police stations.

Is it true that officers are entitled to at least one weekly off but that can be cancelled without any notice?

The weekly off is decided by the Station House Officer (SHO). However, the fact has to be considered that Delhi police are short-staffed, so sometimes officers do end up forfeiting their weekly offs.

They have been allotted 15 days’ casual leave and 30 days’ earned leave per year, but we don’t provide any compensatory day off for the forfeited weekly off. There are also times during Parliament sessions and other imperative situations when officers have to continuously work for a month without any break.

On the other hand, we make sure that if any officer requires leave on an urgent basis, he gets it without much paperwork. This problem also occurs due to Delhi’s densely-packed districts where we have a compact population with an ever increasing rate of crime.

Do the police provide specialised
training to women constables and comfortable facilities at police stations they are posted at?

We have provided specialised training in unarmed combat, motorcycle-riding and rescue operations to some of the women constables inducted into the force last year. They were also sent to the Central Reserve Police Force training centre at Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh. At police stations, women constables have separate changing rooms and toilets.

During night shifts, they are always escorted by a male colleague, but they are also well-trained to individually fight goons and thugs. Their shifts and duties are also kept slightly relaxed compared to their male colleagues. They form an integral part of the force, which we are proud of.

Are there any steps or projects to provide better facilities for the constabulary?

With only 16 per cent of lower-ranking officers being given government accommodation, housing is always seen as a bit of a concern in Delhi Police. And with a large number of personnel being added in the last few years, it had become a matter which needed to be addressed immediately. So, we are constructing 5,200 new quarters at Dheerpur in north-west Delhi on a public-private partnership.

The housing complex will also have provisions for schools, shopping area and community facilities. This is being seen as a huge step that is bound to boost the motivational levels of the force.

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