Exclusive: After third cop dies of COVID-19, Mumbai police sends personnel above 55 on leave
With COVID-19 claiming lives of three cops and infecting several others, Mumbai police move in to protect those among its ranks who are at high risk
After the death of three police personnel due to COVID-19, the Mumbai police are telling constables aged above 55 years and those having existing ailments to immediately proceed on leave. The option for the paid leave was made available on Monday and will last till the lockdown.
Accordingly, the police top brass has directed police stations and traffic divisions to give leave to such constables. If a constable still wishes to come to work, he will be allowed to.
Traffic cops are most vulnerable as their work involves highest people-to-people contact
The three deaths in the Mumbai police workforce occurred within 48 hours. Wanting to save the rest of their colleagues who might be especially vulnerable, senior officers have given clear instructions.
"We have given orders to police stations and traffic divisions to give leave to constables aged beyond 55 years. Those having serious health issues have also been advised to take rest," said Param Bir Singh, commissioner of Mumbai police.
A policeman checks a car at Bhendi Bazar. Pic/Ashish Raje
"On Sunday, we asked for information from the headquarters about constables aged between 50 to 52, 52 to 55 and 55 to 58 years and any ailments they might have," said a senior police officer on condition of anonymity.
Health experts have observed that people aged above 50 and having health issues such as diabetes, asthma and heart conditions are more susceptible to the Coronavirus. "Since the beginning of the lockdown, we had asked our senior inspectors and traffic division in-charges to assign desk duties to constables aged above 50 years, with minimal contact with outsiders," said another officer. "Yet we lost three personnel. Hence, we are enforcing the policy further to avoid more fatalities," added the officer.
Deputy Commissioner of Police and spokesperson for Mumbai police, Pranaya Ashok said, "The message is loud and clear — cops aged above 50 should not be posted in hotspots or in containment zones. In fact, they should serve for tasks that involve minimum social contact. Now we are going a step forward by giving constables aged above 55 years the option to go on leave."
"Enforcing law and order is our priority but saving the lives of our men is also our duty. Therefore, we have given such constables the option to stay home April 27 onwards till the end of the lockdown. Traffic cops have the most contact with people, making them the most vulnerable," said a senior officer from the traffic police.
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