Erratic working hours main cause of fatigue in cops

Erratic working hours main cause of fatigue in cops

A large number of policemen, who are fatigued due to erratic work hours and lack of sleep are putting themselves and the public at risk, a new study has said.

According to a study commissioned by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD), 91.71% of the policemen surveyed said they felt fatigued. Of these, 71.52% said they experienced fatigue, but not severe, while 28.48% felt they were severely fatigued.

The study “fatigue in police personnel: causes and remedies” said causes of mild to severe fatigue among policemen include erratic duty hours, extended shift duties, lack of proper sleep, poor and untimely food, behaviour of superior officers.

“Fatigue tends to increase irritability and anxiety, while diminishing the capacity of officers to make sound decisions, it is likely to increase the probability of officer misconduct, especially misconduct associated with the use of force,” said the study conducted by Dr A K Gadpayle, the director of post graduate institute of medical education and research in New Delhi’s Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital.

Excess fatigue of officers will increase the tendency of misconduct above and beyond that which arises from venal, self-serving motivations, the study conducted among personnel below the rank of inspector in Delhi, Guwahati, Puducherry, Kolkata and Nagpur said.

The main reasons identified by the personnel for fatigue was erratic duty hours (74.25%), increase or extended shift duties (70.79%) and sudden onset of emergency (70.42%). Lack of proper sleep (62.12%) and poor and untimely food (59.34%) were rated as the second most common cause of fatigue.

Living away from family and not finding time to meet family members even after duty hours, smoking, alcohol intake and behaviour of colleagues and superiors were among other reasons cited in the study. Increasing staff strength, decreasing work hours, increasing leave period and improving work atmosphere were among the measures suggested by senior officers to fight fatigue among personnel, it said.

“As erratic duty hours and extended shift duties were found to be the most common causes of fatigue, eight-hour shifts for the police personnel will be instrumental in decreasing fatigue among them,” the study suggested.

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