Enough is enough, say senior officers

Retired top cops for counselling facility to address grievances of juniors

Enough is enough, say senior officers

The police cadre feels there is a need for an immediate revamp of the department’s functioning. They said the present system is unscientific as it has led to pressure on the personnel and their inhuman and uncivilised attitudes.

Moreover, the ratio between the public and the police is not ideal, say retired officers and want counselling facilities introduced at every station to redress grievances of the lower rung staff.

Darker side of constabulary

Currently, the constables work in two shifts of 12 hours each as against three shifts of eight hours each a few decades ago. More than 60 per cent of the constables working in Bangalore City stay in Bidadi, Ramanagar, Anekal, Hoskote and Nelamangala due to costly housing in the City. Such men rarely find time to be with their families. Around 30 per cent of the constables stay in quarters which are in a pathetic state. Higher-ups choose three modes to punish the constables - asking them to discharge duties as sentries (in charge of station security - which constables feel is below their dignity), refusing leaves and assigning continuous shifts.

Department understaffed

The constables are forced to take additional burden as vacant posts are not filled up. There is no sanction to increase the numbers against the increasing population.

“The sanctioned strength is over 90,000 and there are around 18,000 vacant posts. The process is on for recruiting 1,700 constables, direct recruitment of 100 sub-inspectors and appointing constables and SIs for KSRP and Indian Reserve battalion,” Director General and Inspector General of Police L R Pachau told Deccan Herald.

“Currently, there is one constable for every 750 people, but the ideal number is one constable for around 300,” points out retired Assistant Commissioner of Police B B Ashok Kumar. He says nearly 60 men are required to run a police station, but a majority of the stations have just around 35 men. Pressure increases on those who stay in the stations as some of them need to attend to duties like court proceedings, issuing summons, warrants and special duties, he said.

Constables are given only two promotions till their retirement. “These days, graduates and postgraduates have become constables. They find it difficult to cope with the situation as the inspectors are also either graduates and post-graduates. Hence, nearly 20 per cent of the new constables quit the job and join other departments,” he said.

Proposal gathering dust

Retired police officer Dr D V Guruprasad submitted a perspective plan for five years for the department, when he was ADGP (Recruitment and Training). He had recommended planned and regular appointments and a calendar of events.

The implementation was delayed, but about 13,000 constables were recruited between 2006 and 2009. Regular recruitments were stopped thereafter.

“It is not the question of increasing the staff, but filling up the vacant posts,” he said.
Shankar Bidari, during his tenure as DG&IGP, had pressured the government, which resulted in including parents of constables under the Arogya Bhagya health scheme as only constables, their spouses and children were entitled for the facility till then. He ensured that the amount of group insurance went up to Rs 10 lakh from Rs three lakh. Currently, constables’ salaries range between Rs 15,000 and
Rs 18,000. 

Pressure factor

There have been many incidents of subordinates shooting at senior officers in paramilitary forces like CRPF, CISF and in other states. They have been attributed to frustration due to tremendous pressure. They work for long hours and without leaves, besides ill-treatment by higher ups and pitiable working conditions. There should be some sort of counsel­ling facility, suggests Guruprasad. Retired IPS officer S T Ramesh echoed similar views and said such a system was working very well in the West.

It is an unfortunate incident. We need to investigate what triggered the tragedy. Our officers are on the job and will ascertain the causes.
Lalrokhuma Pachau, DG&IGP

Men at lower rung, especially constables, need to be treated properly. They need patient hearing and their grievances should be properly addressed. That was how we discharged duties. I initiated certain steps for the welfare of the constabulary which were implemented a year ago.
Shankar Bidari, retired DG&IGP

It’s an extreme act by the constable which can’t be endorsed in the uniformed organisation. The tragedy occurred due to communication gap between the two. The higher-ups should give a patient hearing to the subordinates to redress grievances. We have a mechanism called roll call for that purpose.
A R Infant, retired DG&IGP

Frustration, pressure and tension trigger such tragedies. Long working hours, ill-treatment and non-congenial workplace are issues of major concern. Cops struggle hard to get leaves which they are entitled for. Such a tragedy is totally new to Karnataka.
Dr D V Guruprasad, Rtd DGP&DG, Karnataka State Fire and
Emergency Services

Neither the constable nor the PSI erred while discharging duties. The PSI had to manage affairs within the available human resources, while the constable needed leave for a genuine reason. Constables are overworked and their grievances should be redressed properly.
Dr S T Ramesh, retired DG&IGP (In-charge)

It is an unfortunate incident. This should be an eye opener for senior staff. The higher-ups will take stock of the circumstances including socio-economic and psychological aspects, that might have led to the incident and suggest measures to be taken to prevent such incidents in future.
Bipin Gopalakrishna, ADGP (Law and Order) 

Policing is one of the essential services and the rule says leave is not a matter of right. The constable should have approached the higher-ups if the police inspector did not grant leaves. The higher-ups need to be tough, hard and disciplined to get the work done. Such tragedies could be prevented only if the system stops misusing the police force.
M P Saravagol, PI, Belgaum

We constables are treated as slaves and in an inhuman and uncivilised way. We curse for having joined the police department as constables. We need to sacrifice our personal life, food, rest and all other basic necessities. Majority of the times, our pleas are turned down. The system should understand we are human beings and need some facilities. Give us self-respect and let there be dignity for our work.
R B Holeyache,  (Name changed), constable, Koppal 

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