It’s a thankless and a daring job – being on your toes day in and day out, protecting the public, preventing mayhem and crime and also risking their lives each minute. The Karnataka police is not as healthy as it seems.  

 

 

According to a report in the Deccan Herald, Home Minister G Parameshwara on Thursday informed the Legislative Council that the police personnel will be given a day off from work in a week and counselling centres will be opened in all taluks to help them cope with the work pressure.

 

 

So what led to this step? It has been long coming but has it not been a step taken too late?

 

 

As per ministry of home affairs (MHA) records, 39 cops ended their life in Karnataka between 2012 and 2014.The state stands the second highest in suicides by police personnel in South India, and is fifth in the country.

 

 

Karnataka recorded 17, 15 and 7 suicides by cops in 2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively. Are these statistics not enough to prove a pattern? Are we waiting for more fatality records to stress the importance the police play in a city’s management? An irate, overworked constable will not be an effective man on duty. How will he be efficient if he is battling so many things on the personal and professional front. Bringing in a move like this after so long seems just like a pacifist measure. The damage has been done.

 

 

Back in June, did you know? The lower rung of the Karnataka Police officers had decided to go a mass leave in the first week of June. It was called ‘harassment leave’. No senior officers were part of this form of protest. It had to be a rare incident. Imagine the police going on strike.The decision was taken to protest against the harassment by senior officers in the name of discipline, meagre salary, no proper leaves and other issues faced on the professional front.

 

 

When we work overnights or overtimes, we are compensated for it in terms of pay or with a compensatory off, with the police it is not so. In Karnataka, policemen are not given overtime wages for night-shifts or extra fieldwork. Yes, the leaves do exist for the constables but implementation has been irregular and at the mercy of senior officers.  Fear of senior officers and loss of job prevents most from speaking up.

 

 

Some of the police officers have complained of low wages which do not qualify them for loans and there is also some discrepancies regarding medical benefits for self and their families. So meeting expenses is a tough job.

 

 

Now, think of the police as an ordinary establishment, except that this one comes with more responsibility. Like any employee if one is not given a suitable work environment, no proper holidays on time, no leaves or other basic facilities then anyone will get irate and depressed, leave alone the police. The professional stress is bound to be reflected in their personal lives leading to domestic conflicts and divorces among other things.

 

 

So, if the government stands by its decision and this time the leaves are implemented, then probably we will have lower case of cop suicides in Bengaluru. And while they are doing that, they could also think about increasing the manpower in the force.