Corporate Police: Eight-hour shifts give Mumbai cops their smiles back
mid-day surveys five police stations across Mumbai, four of which have implemented the city Police Commissioner Datta Padsalgikar’s orders of implementing 8-hour work shifts
Happy constable Satish Bagal. Bipin Kokate
The 8-hour work shift announcement by police chief Datta Padsalgikar last month was a challenge for the police. And, stations have been trying their best to follow the chief's orders, working around a huge staff shortage. mid-day surveyed 5 stations to assess how well this was working.
After police commissioner Datta Padsalgikar ordered that all city police stations implement eight-hour shifts for its personnel, 42 of the 94 complied till December 20. Shortage of manpower, however, has meant that the new style of functioning isn't complete yet — the duty hours of detection staff at each station are still beyond the stipulated period.
Matunga Police Station
Assistant inspector (detection) Uttam Mane (in white) talks to his staff. Pic/Bipin Kokate
'Detection is tough'
Here, personnel work for 12 hours once a week to adjust the weekly offs.
Constable Pandit Gavit said, “Earlier, we worked 12 hours a day. Now, we get more time with our families.”
“For detecting cases, there are no fixed hours; when we have a case, we do not go home for days. We have to identify the accused, trace him/her, and then interrogate. Then comes the recording of statements, documentation for court, etc. But when we are not on a case, the timings are fine,” said assistant inspector (detection) Uttam Mane.
Eight-hour shifts started from September
>> Total staff: 171
>> Detection staff: 20
>> Average daily turnout: 120-125
>> Number of staffers needed: 50
>> Chain-snatching spots (which require regular patrolling): 12
KALACHOWKIE POLICE STATION
Sharad Patil, Somnath Deshmane and other officers. Pic/Bipin Kokate
Five days of ease
This one, surrounded by government colonies, has a boundary till Lalbaug market. It requires at least 45 more to manage the new shifts. Beat marshal Sharad Patil said, “My job is to stay on the field and patrol the area. The area has two main exit points, which lead to the highway. I work for eight hours for five days and one day for 12-13 hours, after which I get my weekly off.” Sub-inspector (detection) Somnath Deshman said, “Detection is tough. At times, we work for 36 to 40 hours continuously. The new eight-hour shifts are good if we are not on a case.”
Eight-hour shifts started from October
>> Total staff: 143
>> Detection staff: 12
>> Average daily turnout: 110
>> Number of staffers needed: 45
>> Chain-snatching spots (requiring regular patrolling): 10
Azad Maidan Police Station
Azad Maidan police station. Fice Pic
The busiest police station of South Mumbai is yet to initiate the eight-hour shifts. It has the BMC headquarters, Azad Maidan, and Killa court in its jurisdiction, keeping personnel on their toes 24x7. It needs 80 more to enforce the new shift timings.
Eight-hour shifts not initiated yet
>> Total staff: 236
>> Detection staff: 12
>> Average daily turnout: 180-195
>> Number of staffers needed: 80
>> Chain-snatching spots (requiring regular patrolling): 5
JJ Marg Police Station
'It's different now, better'
Surrounded by several religious places, it has JJ hospital nearby, where criminals are brought for treatments and check-ups. Though escort officers from the local arms division are present, there have been instances when the culprits have managed to escape. The JJ marg police has to deal with this as well.
Constable Bhavna Shirsath said, “I deal with complaints of women. Each case is different; also, it gets tough when the complainants are aggressive. I try to calm them down... Before the new rule, we used to work 12-14 hours a day, but now, it's different, better. When bandobast needs to be done, there are no fixed timings, but overall, it's a good initiative by our chief.”
“We are doing our best to make this work. We need more staff; if we get 40-odd more, it will be smoother. As a senior inspector, I used to get a lot of complaints from staffers regarding leaves and weekly offs and overtime, but after the enforcement, that's all stopped. I know the detection staff has no option if they are on a case, but we are finding ways to reduce their work and stress,” said Dilip Shinde.
Eight-hour shifts started from october
>> Total staff: 152
>> Detection staff: 15
Average daily turnout: 135
>> Number of staffers needed: 40
>> Chain-snatching spots (requiring regular patrolling): 2
Dongri Police station
Dongri police station. FILE PIC
'Shifts helping me stay fit'
Located in a highly sensitive area, it's surrounded by 12 mosques, 18 temples, 12 dargahs, two churches and a synagogue. Six officers in three-hour shifts are also deployed outside the office of Zakir Naik's IRF following the ban on the Foundation.
Head constable Rambhau Garje said, “Dongri is a sensitive area; several big festivals are celebrated here, which see mass gatherings. During such times, citizens' security is the priority; hence, we don't see how many hours we are working. But the eight-hour shift move is helping. I am thankful to CP sir.”
“I am a 'gund commander'. My job is to keep a watch on anti-social elements and history-sheeters for which fitness is important. The new shift is helping me stay fit,” said constable Prakash Gund, adding, “But when I have to be on the field and a situation breaks out, then there's no looking at the time. But the situation is definitely better now.”
Inspector Ankush Katkar said, “On November 28, we initiated the system, it's working well. The staffers seem happier. When there are festivals or gatherings, we get additional staff from adjoining police stations.”
Eight-hour shifts started from November
>> Total staff: 150
>> Detection staff: 14
>> Average daily turnout: 115
>> Number of staffers needed: 55
>> Chain-snatching spots (requiring regular patrolling): 3
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