Shooting brings constables' woes to the fore

Away from home, cops work without rest

Shooting brings constables' woes to the fore

There seems to be more than what meets the eye behind the Sunday’s bitter shooting incident at Rajanukunte police station.

Strenuous relationship with higher-ups, stress due to overwork and lack of leave to spend time with their family are a few of the several problems faced by constables, all of which many a times lead to a tragic end in their personal or professional lives.

A senior constable at a City police station recalled how he was hounded by the inspector some months back over a trivial issue that he did not pick his call over the mobile phone. He said he could not pick the inspector's call as he was in the court then.

“But by the time I returned by evening, the inspector was so wild that he insulted me abusing me with foul language and even threatened to assault me,” he recounted. “I have more service in this department than him. I have worked with very senior officers too, but never had any problem earlier. But this man denies a sub-ordinate self-respect, which none of us need to tolerate. Even we are human beings,” he rued.

Contention

Another constable with the East Division said on most occasions, it is for either leave and duty allotment policemen quarrel with each other.

“If you are in the bad books of an inspector or any superior and if he starts to target you, your life almost becomes hell. Though such things are prevalent in any office, it is aggravated in the police department as it is a disciplinary force. The seniors can punish you and it could go really bad and also humiliating. But it is a part of the duty – an occupational hazard.”

The major problem faced by the constables are that they will be away from the families living in quarters near the station and when seniors deny them free time and leave, they are frustrated. One of the constables with the Bangalore police, said he was working in the City while his family lives in Chintamani, 70 miles away.

No respite from work

He said since three weeks he was working without even a single day off and has not been able to even visit his family on his daughter’s birthday.

Such incidents referring to the Rajanukunte incident don't happen just on a fraction of a second. It is a pent up anger against the system that has exploded on a trivial trigger. The officers are the ones who can humanise the brutality of the system.

There are many good officers too. But some of them brutally show off their power on their sub-ordinates who are hapless, he observed.

Though there have been many proposals to improve the working conditions of constabulary like providing for compulsory weekly off on rotational basis, canteen facilities with food items at subsidised rates like in the Army to policemen, bringing down working hours of police to eight hours a day, they have been biting dust in the Home Department while there is a latent frustration building in the constabulary.

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