MP: All Forgotten! NHRC Asks 'Do Cops Get Weekly Offs?'; PHQ Yet To Reply

MP: All Forgotten! NHRC Asks 'Do Cops Get Weekly Offs?'; PHQ Yet To Reply

Top officers say idea impractical, impossible to implement

RAJESH THAKURUpdated: Friday, February 23, 2024, 12:18 PM IST
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Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): The State Police Headquarters (PHQ) is yet to reply to a missive from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) seeking to know whether policemen are getting a day off every week.

In a communication to the PHQ, the national human rights watchdog has sought to know whether personnel of the Madhya Pradesh police are getting weekly off. It has also sought information on many other issues related to the physical and mental wellbeing of the police personnel, especially the lower ranks and the constabulary.

Immediately after coming to power in the state, the then chief minister Kamal Nath had announced that police personnel will be given a day’s off every week. In pursuance of the chief minister’s announcement, the PHQ, on January 1, 2019 issued formal orders.

The order was implemented in right earnest. The BJP government, which took over in March 2020, did not withdraw the measure.

Meanwhile, the Covid-19 pandemic intervened, turning everything topsy-turvy. With cops pressed into service for enforcing lockdowns, weekly offs were all but forgotten. Even after the resumption of normal life following the end of the pandemic, the weekly offs were not resumed.

ADJ, Welfare Anil Kumar told Free Press that besides weekly offs, the NHRC has also sought information on whether the police personnel perform yoga asanas, play sports and participate in PT on a regular basis, whether they undergo periodic physical and mental medical tests, what is their status with respect to lifestyle ailments like hypertension and diabetes and so on. The ADJ said that the information has been compiled and forwarded to the complaints cell of the PHQ, from where it will be sent to the NHRC.

‘No leave reserve in district police’

We are yet to reply to the NHRC. However, the basic problem is that there is no leave or training reserve in the state police force. In the army and even in the SAF, posts are sanctioned keeping in mind that some men would be on leave and some would be on training. For example, if 100 men are needed, 120 posts are sanctioned so that the work is not affected even if 10 persons are on training and 10 are on leave. The same is the case with the IPS cadre. But that is not case in the district police force. If 100 men are needed, 100 posts are sanctioned. So, how can we give them weekly offs?

-Ashok Awasthi, DG, Complaints Cell

Theoretically good idea but not feasible...

The police brass, however, feel that weekly offs are not feasible as far as police personnel posted in the field are concerned. Senior police officers, who did not wish to be identified, said that policemen in the field have a wide range of duties to perform – they have to solve crimes, provide security to political, social and religious events, escort visiting VIPs, maintain law and order, testify in courts, execute warrants etc. On the top of that, there is severe staff crunch, especially at the levels of constable, head constable and sub-inspector. “Theoretically, it may sound a very good idea but the fact is that it is impractical and impossible to implement,” a top cop said.

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