Mumbai: Rookie cop's suicide threat exposes how cops exploit juniors

In a disturbing letter sent to the director general of police, anonymous officer mentions he is considering suicide owing to the workload; other probationary officers also say seniors treat them like work horses

Ever since the Director General of Police (DGP) received a ‘disturbing’ letter from a Police Sub-inspector (PSI) in which the anonymous probationary officer mentioned that he was considering suicide owing to the immense work pressure, an alert has been sounded across all the commissionerates.

Taking serious note of the letter, the DGP office issued directives asking senior officers to trace the anonymous PSI and keep an eye on other staffers too. DCP (Special Branch-1) Ankush Shinde forwarded the message to all the Additional Commissioners of Police and Zonal DCPs.

The letter
In a letter (accessed by mid-day) to one of the DCPs, Shinde states: The ‘anonymous’ probationary PSI is under tremendous mental stress due to station house duty, investigation of serious crimes, accidental death cases, enquiries in complaint applications, etc. Due to these multiple duties, he requested the DGP to keep probationary PSIs (on 12-months probation period) away from the station house and instead depute them as assistant duty officers to ensure that new officers have a better understanding of the work ethics observed across police stations.

'No complaints allowed'
A newly inducted PSI claimed the seniors expect them to perform like a workhorse, without complaining.

“We have no fixed duties or weekly offs. We are asked to lodge FIRs and are deployed on bandobast duties on hot sunny days, without having access to essentials like drinking water or cloakrooms. While we struggle without food, our seniors rest inside chowkies,” the officer said.

Another probationary PSI said seniors must help juniors rather than treat them as school kids.

“We won’t learn unless we make mistakes. But rather than guiding us, our seniors just shoot orders and expect us to follow them blindly. This not only upsets an officer, but also demotivates him/her,” the officer said.

He added, at times parties involved in a case are influential and directly contact senior officers. “We are then directed to do something that we hate to. Seniors don’t even bother to hear our side of the story,” he said.

Citing an example, the PSI said one of his colleagues was hospitalised a few months ago as he followed his senior officer’s orders and went into depression after doing something that he did not want to.

He added that a PSI from Cuffe Parade police station went missing in November 2014 and resurfaced in April 2015. Inquiry revealed that he left work and home, as he was unable to cope with the work pressure any longer.

Official speak
Commenting on the issue, Mumbai police spokesperson DCP Dhananjay Kulkarni said, “Several measures are already in place to help policemen destress. I personally fell that junior officers must learn to enjoy their jobs and imbibe new things. An officer has to develop skills to keep his mind calm while fulfilling people’s expectations as well as live up to the multitasking nature of the force. Officers are taught these things during training.”

An IPS officer said all senior officers (across commissionerates and district police) are briefed to be humane, inspire juniors and instil team spirit in them. “Overall, there is contentment and satisfaction in the force. Maybe there are a few exceptions who are unable to cope with the demanding nature of this job,” the officer added.

The 14 steps
Additional Director General of Police (Administration) V V Laxminarayana elaborated the steps taken by the force for ensuing well-being of its personnel 
>> Stress management modules
>> Strict weekly offs 
>> Better training modules 
>> Medical check ups
>> Family counselling 
>> Investigation Fund
>> De-addiction camps 
>> Yoga / Meditation camps
>> Better interaction between seniors and juniors 
>> Better housing facilities 
>> MPKY for better medical treatment
>> Rewards for good work
>> Scholarships/rewards for meritorious children 
>> Sanction of leave as a rule and denial as an exception

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