73% of Indian cops get no weekly off: Study
New Delhi: The question everybody asks why police in India is not efficient and why they behave rudely? There is finally an answer to that question. 73% of police officers do not get weekly off even once in a month and 90% of them work longer than prescribed eight hours shift, a new study has revealed.
The study, 'National Requirement of Manpower for 8-hour Shift in Police Stations', was carried out by Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) and Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI).
“According to more than 68% of station house officers (SHO) and over 76% of supervisory officers, staff members of their police stations have to remain on duty for 11 hours or more per day. 27.7% SHOs and 30.4% supervisory officers even reported that their staff worked for more than 14 hours a day,” the 250 page long study stated.
The ‘always on duty' police force mandate is governed by the police act of 1861, “The Indian Police Act of 1861, in keeping with the objective of the then rulers to have an economical police force, mandated an “always on duty” work regime for police officers.”
“The ever-increasing workload, emerging job requirements as well as the environment of policing have since changed the scenario dramatically. But, the ‘always on duty' dictum of the ante-diluvian Police Act of 1861 still continues to govern the working hour regime of police personnel in the country,” the study observed.
The research, which was done to understand the problem of long and irregular working hours of police station personnel, involved extensive field survey including as many as 12,156 police station staff, 1,003 SHOs and 962 supervisory police officers from 319 police districts in the country, spanning 23 States and two Union Territories.
The study reveals that around 80% of the staff is commonly recalled to duty during their off time. Nearly a half (46.7%) of staff, involved in study, reported that they were called in for duty, on an average, for 8–10 times in a month.
The police force, often blamed for inefficiency and lack of empathy, has a quite good reason behind it. “Long and irregular work hours have multiple negative impacts on efficient policing, since weary, over-worked and over-exhausted personnel cannot be expected to put in their best in their work,” the study observed.
Their long working hours and insufficient rest has led to different health issues. During the survey, 74% of respondents among police station staff reported that the current working hour regime led to various kinds of health problems for them. 76% of SHOs also felt that the current duty hour arrangement was deleterious to health of staff.
The irregular shift and long hours does not only create health issues for the policemen but it also creates social problems for them. Police officers, of all ranks, said that their job has affected their family and social Life. Around 80% of overall staff and 82% of SHOs agree that their job has affected their ability to attend to their personal/family needs and social life and commitments.
The study, while emphasising on the need of improved system of shift, said that the introduction of shift system would inevitably require some extra manpower, with attendant cost implications.
“However, the improvement in the quality of policing that regulated hours of work bring about, as established by our case study of the 8-hour duty system of Kerala Police, as also our action research experiment in five police stations of Madhya Pradesh and the case study of the discontinued attempt of Pune police, should make that extra cost a socially useful investment,” the report stated.
The study observed that this will also heighten levels of morale and motivation of staff, which would compensate the extra expenditure involved in augmentation of manpower.