Coronavirus outbreak: Exhausted police force gets revised duty hours

Updated: 28 April, 2020 07:19 IST | Anurag Kamble | Mumbai

Police department introduces new duty pattern of 12-hour work time followed by 24-hour rest to ensure personnel stay safe while dealing with COVID-19

74 police stations have adopted the new duty pattern and remaining are on a path to follow it. Pic/Ashish Raje
74 police stations have adopted the new duty pattern and remaining are on a path to follow it. Pic/Ashish Raje

To increase efficiency, effectiveness of patrolling and to give the city's foot soldiers some much-needed rest, the Mumbai police department has decided to adopt a new duty pattern.

Under the new pattern, the constabulary and officers will have to work 12 hours post which they will get a 24-hour break. Apart from doctors and health workers, cops too have been busy fighting the COVID-19 pandemic on the frontline. However, after constables (three already) started losing their lives to COVID-19, the top brass decided to set up a new duty pattern.

Accordingly, a new 12-hour shift has been introduced in the force. In this, personnel at police stations will be divided into three units, each working a 12-hour shift. "Duty will start at 8 am and end at 8 pm, when the next batch will come for night duty," a senior police officer said. "Whichever cop finishes his/her 12-hour duty at night, they will go home and come back to work the next day at 8 pm," added the officer.

This duty pattern will give each officer rest of a good 24 hours. "Even if this duty looks like 12 hours, a lot of multitasking is expected on this job as it includes patrolling, nakabandi and other activities. This makes cops new duty timings doable in such tough situations. As there are hardly any crimes happening in the area, the duty load has reduced," another a senior police officer said.

"Also, when an officer or constable gets more than 12 hours off, they can look after the families and their own health which will improve their immunity," the officer added.

Out of 94 police stations, 74 have adopted the new duty pattern and the rest will follow. "This duty pattern does leave me with a smaller force, but it reduces their exposure to the virus. As a frontline worker, we can't think about avoiding crowded places, but we can be well prepared for it," a senior Inspector from Eastern Region said.

"We have given instructions to all Zonal DCPs to chalk out a plan which will give a 12-hour duty and 24-hour rest to cops. We have to take care of our men, too. Currently, feedback from cops is good," Mumbai Police Commissioner, Param Bir Singh said.

Third cop succumbs to COVID-19

A third cop has died from COVID-19, taking the casualty toll among city cops to three. Head Constable Shivaji Sonawane, 56, attached to Kurla Traffic division, died on Monday. He was turned down by four hospitals on April 21, when his 25-year-old son tried tp get him admitted. Sonawane, a resident of Kurla's Kamani area, had a fever since April 20. The GP gave him medication and advised him to visit a hospital if he did not get relief. His fever did not subside and he started to feel breathless.

Sharad, Sonawane's son, took him to Rajawadi Hospital, Ghatkopar, on April 21, to get him admitted, but was told to take him to Kasturba. He was turned out at Kasturba, over no beds and at Nair and KEM too. Finally, it was after Kurla traffic division in-charge spoke to the Bhoiwada senior inspector that Sonawane was admitted at KEM Hospital.

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First Published: 28 April, 2020 07:05 IST

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