Last month an incident that made headlines was that of a Delhi Police head constable who hit a woman with a brick after an altercation concerning a traffic violation by the lady scooterist. After a video clip of his attacking the young woman with children went viral, a criminal case was filed against him, he was arrested and dismissed from service.
The two explanations of the horrific incident that went around were – one where the lady accused the cop of demanding a bribe, and when she refused to pay, he got angry and hit her with the brick. This was caught on camera by a person passing by. The other, an audio clip of the heated exchange between the cop and the lady, suggesting that after a traffic violation by the lady, the police officer requested for the woman’s license and registration certificate repeatedly, even as she hurled abuses at him; nowhere in this clip was the cop heard demanding a bribe. The traffic police officer was later caught on camera throwing bricks at the woman’s scooter and then at her as well. The incident shook the Capital, pointing to the urgent need for police reforms and perhaps body worn cameras for police personnel.
The police work long hours without leaves and incentives. Rapid urbanisation has put severe pressure on them as the population in cities has increased manifold but the number of policemen on the streets has not increased in the same proportion. The load of everyday policing, prevention and detection of crime, investigation, managing serious law and order situations, guarding important installations and providing security to VIPs (threatened individuals) have multiplied.
A recent study by the Bureau of Police Research & Development shows that nearly 90% of police station staff, across India presently work for more than 8 hours a day. Further, over 76% of supervisory officers have to remain on duty for 11 hours or more per day, often 7 days a week! What makes the situation even worse is that most (over 80%) of the staff are commonly recalled to duty during their off time, to deal with emergencies of law and order, VIP security arrangements or other duties!
The situation of inordinately long and irregular working hours for police is quite serious as it has multiple negative impacts on efficient policing, since weary, over-worked and exhausted personnel cannot be expected to put in their best. The effects of this physical strain leading to fatigue and short tempers of police personnel is resulting in a risk to society from the guardians themselves!
Since it is not feasible for the government to rapidly increase the numbers of police personnel, it will have no other option but to adopt technology and efficient work practices for policing functions, improve their training levels and offload non sensitive tasks of the police to the private security industry (PSI). The PSI will have to rise to the occasion and take on this challenge.
Our cover story this month focuses on the importance of getting a professional risk analysis done by security consultants before end users go shopping for security equipment and technology. I hope that you enjoy browsing this edition.
Till we meet next month, stay safe!
Cheers & Happy Reading
G B Singh
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