Mumbai: Things could not get further worse for Mumbai Police, who are already short-staffed, and their resources have been strained to the hilt. Now nearly 7,500 of its policemen have been asked to stay back home. This has been done to ensure these policemen, who are above the age of 55 years, do not get infected with the novel coronavirus.
The order was issued by Mumbai Police after three of its constables died due to the virus. However, the order, though has ensured the safety of the policemen, has put an extra workload on the other section of its staffers.
"Our total strength is 50,000 and at least 15% have been asked to stay at home as a precaution. This means, nearly 7,500 policemen are not reporting to work from last week," confirmed DCP Pranaya Ashok. "The safety of these policemen is also our priority.
And in lieu of these policemen, we have deployed the state reserve police force (SRPF) at various police stations so that there is no overload on them," Ashok added. But the ground reality seems to be different with policemen of various stations narrating a slightly different version. "At least 78 policemen from our station have to be sent home due to the order.
We were already short-staffed and with these many going home, we are finding it difficult to function," said a senior officer from Mankhurd police station. Notably, the situation in Mankhurd and nearby areas such as Govandi, Shivaji Nagar has been worst with policemen finding it difficult to ensure citizens follow the lockdown rules.
"We are confused now. Due to short staff, we do not know how to enforce lockdown, how to keep track on crime etc as we have fewer numbers of policemen to perform these duties," the officer added. Similar has been the situation at Worli, which has been worst hit by coronavirus and the area is leading with the greatest number of coronavirus patients.
"There are issues, but we have to work anyhow. We are used to work with less staff, and we are doing it. However, the authorities have sent additional staff from headquarters. That has been of some help," said an officer from Worli. At Malwani in Malad, which is again a slum pocket of the city, at least 28 cops are not reporting to work, owing to the orders.
Malwani has been in news always for crime. "We are somehow managing work with whatever resources we have. We have to deploy most of our staff for keeping a watch on crime but now we have asked few of them to help in lockdown bandobast," said an officer from Malwani police station, on condition of anonymity