Wary CP wants to disarm 'mentally-unfit' cops

In the aftermath of bus rampage in Pune, senior officers at stations across the city have been asked to submit lists of cops who are under treatment for mental illnesses

Following Wednesday's tragic road catastrophe in Pune, the Mumbai police commissioner has decided not to take any chances with any of his men. Arup Patnaik has reportedly asked his subordinates to draw up a list of city cops who are undergoing psychiatric treatment, with the aim of divesting them of their firearms soon.

Santosh Mane went berserk and hurtled down the wrong side of several busy Pune streets on Wednesday, mowing down vehicles and killing eight

On Wednesday, Santosh Mane a driver on the rolls of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) in Pune hijacked a bus, entered the wrong side of a bustling road, and in a reckless rampage, mowed down over a dozen vehicles, killing eight and injuring 30. There have been reports that the driver was mentally unstable.

Within hours, the main police control room flashed a message on its wireless system to all police stations and departments, asking senior officials to prepare a list of officers who are undergoing treatment for mental illnesses.

The inspectors in charge of the police stations have been asked to report with their lists within the next couple of days, sources said.

"We are taking precaution on health grounds. If any officer has high sugar, he is not fit for a mob situation. We will offer him a clerical post.

Similarly, if any officer is physically sound and is in an unimportant department, we will transfer him to a post where he will be able to help," said Nisar Tamboli, deputy commissioner of police (DCP) and spokesperson for the Mumbai police.

According to records, an average of 58 policemen lose their lives to illnesses every year. Sources revealed that 292 policemen have lost their lives between 2006 and 2010. 163 of them succumbed to cardiac and heart-related illnesses, while 42 of them committed suicide.

Keeping these figures in mind, the department has also woken up to the need of monitoring officers who work long hours, in situations of high stress.

"We are taking precaution from all angles. We cannot take the risk. Mentally-ill officers are not to be given duties which require them to wield firearms," said an officer of condition of anonymity.

"People commit offences such as suicide or murder while experiencing overpowering emotions like anger, pain and sorrow. Some people inflict harm on themselves, while some harm others. Mane hurt others," said Dr Suleman Merchant, who conducts suicide-prevention programmes at Sion Hospital.

Cops lost to depression
On January 11, 2008, a 40-year-old constable Mohan Deshmukh committed suicide by shooting himself with his rifle in Juhu. Deshmukh was attached to the Local Arms Department and was a patient of depression, and was undergoing treatment for the same.

Constable Banshidhar Rane (46), attatched with the Nehru Nagar police station, committed suicide on April 4, 2011 by hanging himself. He was under psychiatric treatment.

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