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Eight hours of duty Is it feasible?

The police force is facing shortage of 40,000 personnel but the state government is reluctant to fill up the vacant posts.

Mumbai Police-AV

Mumbai Police have always complained about the long working schedules which have affected their productivity. For overcoming this problem, the senior officials have reduced the working hours of cops posted at Deonar and Kurla Police station on pilot basis. If everything goes well then this policy will be implemented across 93 police stations of the metropolis with effect from June 1. However, police officials are not sure whether it is possible to implement the eight hour work rule as the department is facing severe manpower crunch. At present the strength of the police force is 50, 680 but many police personnel are deployed for performing various duties like preventing chain snatching crimes, offering security to VIPs, manning cyber cells and ATS cell.  The working hours of officials deployed at major police stations including Azad Maidan and Marine Drive generally go up to 14 and 15 hours during police bandobast.

A senior police official from Deonar Police station spoke on the condition of anonymity and said, “The police department’s initiative to introduce 8 hour shifts in two police stations is laudable. However, I doubt whether this endeavor will succeed as the police department is facing shortage of 40,000 personnel. The state government is reluctant to fill up the vacant posts citing financial crunch reasons. If this situation persists then cops will have no option but to work extra hours.”

Another cop from Kurla Police station said, “How can they think about going ahead and implement this policy before carrying out the necessary ground work? Police personnel work hard to provide security to the citizens. Our work load increases during important festivals like Diwali, Dusshera and Ramzan. Nowadays we also have to work extra hours whenever terror alert is issued for the city. Nobody thinks about our welfare but we continue to perform our duties and only false assurances are given to us.”

Even Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had called for reduction of working hours for police officials but most of the proposals remain restricted on paper due to poor implementation.

Mumbai police commissioner DD Padsalgikar said, “Deonar police station is the experimental police station where the pilot project has been started. We will review the experiment once it is over.”

“Large number of vacancies exists in the police force across the country, especially in the lower ranks. However these posts are not filled even though lakhs of candidates apply for the job,” said GP Joshi, a retired IPS officer and former director of the Bureau of Police Research and Development.

Nine vans and SUVS have been allotted to South Mumbai’s DB Marg police station for performing patrolling duties. The station needs 18 drivers to have them operate during two shifts of 12 hours each. For three eight-hour shifts, the police station would need 27 drivers. “But in actuality, we have been sanctioned only seven drivers in all,” said Suresh Kadam, a police inspector at DB Marg station.

The eight hour shift will be introduced at DB Marg police station from May 30. “On a trial basis, we will have to reduce the number of personnel deployed at different beats in this area. Where five policemen used to do the job, we will have to use three,” said Kadam.

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