Policemen deserve healthy work-life balance too 5

Published : Times of India

The recent shooting of a sub-inspector by his subordinate once again points towards the deep malaise that’s afflicting the police system in this country.Whatever police reforms have happened,have centered around senior levels of the police force.The middle levels have remained largely untouched.A series of suggestions about adverse living and working conditions and lack of promotional avenues have,unfortunately,not progressed beyond lip service.

Unfortunately,the issue of human rights for policemen is raised only as a counter-question to that of a terrorist,Naxalite,criminal,or when they are killed by their own disgruntled subordinates.We bombard the police department with choice abuse and incessant criticism.Society points accusing fingers it needs a whipping boy and the police force is an easy target.Such reckless whipping alienates the public further and makes the department’s task more difficult.It’s ironical that while we condemn the force,we expect it to solve all our problems.
It’s a pity that society expects protection of human rights from the same personnel whose human rights are compromised the day they join service by taking a pledge to be available 24×7,365 days a year,without complaining.Rather than counselling and stress release classes,I feel that giving them their legitimate dues is their biggest welfare.Unless we remove the root causes of stress,meditation,yoga or counselling wont yield results.
There are bigger welfare measures : ensure they are with their families after duty hours;they don’t travel long distances to their place of work;provide housing so that they don’t have to coexist with criminals;and a healthy work environment.Reasonable working hours are a basic right and not a welfare measure.
To hold only outsiders responsible for the predicament of the police force is like being in denial mode.In the force,there is still a divide between those who support brawn and brain as a prerequisite to being good policemen.Educated,empowered and ambitious youth join the force only to find themselves trapped in an unfair system.To apply their own mind,express reservations about directives from superiors or ask for basic rights like family time is often seen as insubordination.We exhort policemen to work harder while burdening them with more responsibilities.A tired and frustrated police force cannot deliver and let’s not forget that 95% of the field jobs are done by constables.
There is a need for massive surgery of duties entrusted to the police department,re-engineering of processes and defining the mandate within the realm of possibility.The focus needs to be the security of citizens rather than the state.Instead of asking them to work harder,we need to train them to work smarter.

(The author is Additional DGP ; the opinions expressed are his own) 

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5 thoughts on “Policemen deserve healthy work-life balance too

  1. Reply Srinidhi.K.P Jan 30, 2013 4:25 pm

    Good evening sir, I don’t now how to start, but I’m trying to express my self,
    If a police constable work for a day or a shift In which he is deployed he must get rest, sir try to stand in the position of a police office or a police constable the only life ambision which he can do is to built a house or to do marriage to her daughter, just think sir a police office is working in mysore his family is in bangalore he is doing his daught’s marriage he has got only 15 days of leave What arrangement can he do.!? The police constables are moving in the alternative way for a long leave, just they will go to Dr and they will bring the certificate for sick and they will move, by this the Dr will get 100 rupees but the police officer or constable will be economic’l week, I may explain how the KGID which is mandatery to Govt employee will count the medical leave account and then they will fix the amount for the policy just a leave makes the hole family week sir hope you gate come to the point,thank you, I request sorry if I have spoken more.!

  2. Reply Farook Jan 30, 2013 6:49 pm

    Dear Mr.Praveen Sood

    It is indeed a privilege for Bangalore to have a IIT graduate as their Add Comm. of Police. Your views reflect an in dept analysis of the grave issue of a citizens attitude towards police and a lower rank police mans life. It may indeed be his lifestyle that puts pressure on him to behave the way he does.

    To further analyse Lifestyle. Who would be the one community in this country that lives under the most stressful conditions. Temperatures less than forty degrees centigrade, frozen food, away from their families not for days but for months. Living right under a spray of bullets and not knowing whether death would strike them the very next moment. Uncertain if they would ever be seeing their families again. I cant imagine living under such stressful conditions. It is indeed our Indian army that gives us a secure feeling and a good nights sleep. That
    just has to be the utmost stressful lifestyle.

    Yet I know many army officers who are posted in sensitive areas. When I meet them they don’t seem to be agitated or stressed. They have learned to make it a way of life. Adapted to the hardships. They don’t need to be in a uniform to know that they are from the army. Their faces shine with radiance making me envy as to what kind of training their seniors give them to have that kind of a pleasant attitude.

    If its lifestyle alone that causes the stress then how would one explain this. Some time back one junior army jawan helped me to find out if any civil rifle training is given at army grounds. He went up and down to the control room and all over and ran back to me. Saying sorry no. I really liked that attitude and gave him some money. He stepped back and said the government gives us money to serve you and not to take money from you. I found it impossible to convince him to take the money and could only see one thing in his nature. The feeling of patriotism. His mind was not set on money but only on serving others. Waiting for someone to tell him to something and was he ready.

    Coming back to our Karnataka police services. A general person does not like a police man. He is intimidated by his very presence and the reasons are very obvious. When we step in to a police station to write an FIR they don’t do it. All we get is a missing acknowledged. There are many such instances on the bcp Facebook page where police men have abused people for now knowing Kannada, for standing outside their own homes, for walking on the street and even for asking them to file an FIR for a theft from their homes. We do have some priceless gems like ACP Neymagowda, Halsur, DR. Anil Kumar Halsur, Mr. Kasim Raja and not to forget Mr. Jagdish PI Cottenpet. It is indeed their education level and attitude that makes them stand apart. But how many such officers do we have.

    Now it is for you to judge if its the stressful lifestyle or the something else like the training program that needs a change. Do we train them to serve people like an army officer or do we tell them don’t talk to anyone unless he speaks to you in Kannada. Do we teach them to keep the roads clean of roadside vendors or to collect money from them every day. Do we tell them to use the authority to protect the weak or do we tell them to push an east Indian lady aside when she approaches a policeman for help. I HAVE DECIDED, I AM GOING TO MAKE MY CHILDREN INTO IPS OFFICERS. There is no other profession like IPS if you want to serve
    people, there is no other profession like IPS if you want to harass people. There is no one and no one whom a police officer cannot harass.

    Do we see the change. Do we see the police man getting help from a citizen nearby the next time a speeding bike rider punches onto his face. Are we ever going to see the attitude of a police man change

  3. Reply Madryt Feb 3, 2013 3:20 pm

    Very good written story. It will be beneficial to everyone who usess it, including me. Keep doing what you are doing – i will definitely read more posts.

  4. Reply pralhad kulkarni Feb 26, 2013 12:18 pm

    Respected Sir,

    We need officer like you who thinks of lower cadres,,,

  5. Reply Chandan Feb 26, 2013 1:04 pm

    Couldn’t agree more sir ! Need to ensure the minimum acceptance criteria such as reasonable work life balance before any other techniques can be implemented

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