The city's police stations ought to keep their staff's comfort as top priority to ensure maximum productivity, as we spotted at the newly restored Bazaar Gate Police Station
As soon as we stepped on to the second level of the historic stone building, a frame flashed in front of our eyes. Circa early 1880s. A crowded street with people from all walks of life, be it traders, vendors, or families, could be seen milling around below. There was no Victoria Terminus or Municipal Corporation building. And, definitely no General Post Office. From their vantage point, the constabulary watched over the population that inhabited one of the most important cities of The Crown.
A little over a week ago, we had the opportunity to attend the inauguration of the Bazaar Gate Police Station (established 1881) DCP - Zone 1 post its restoration; this was the very same vantage point that we have mentioned above. The building was a fine example of an ideal location that commanded sweeping views of a growing city at that time. And later, as the grand terminus would have opened, it must have introduced new logistic concerns with a higher number of people crossing the streets below.
The structure, whose architect remains unknown, thought of the comfort of the police by ensuring that ventilation was possible from all sides, thanks to the long verandahs that lined each level. Light swathed through the rooms and I could feel a gentle breeze envelop the space despite it being high noon as I was part of a small group that was lucky enough to get a guided tour of its interiors. I was told during the walk about how the officers and staff could never imagine that their police station was such a well-planned site that offered such a fine example of location and comfort. They were aware of its historicity but post restoration, the smiles I spotted on the day was enough validation.
Since I haven't been inside too many police stations apart from the city and state headquarters, it was a thought that came to mind. Comfort and convenience of a space could make such a massive difference to our police force after a hard day's workload and to ensure better focus. Be it happier and ergonomically sound workstations, perhaps piped music (are we pushing our luck?), some kind of extracurricular activity, such as a carrrom board table or table tennis facility, even a hoop in the backyard for a game of basketball and a reading zone with options like Sudoku and other engaging games, it might all make for interesting options.
For a force that's under constant pressure of guarding a city that never sleeps, it could go a long way in making a major difference to their outlook and output. The sense of pride and wide smiles that didn't miss the eye made me think even more about these facilities.
As the city remembers its bravehearts across professions and the men in khaki who sacrificed their lives on November 26, 2008, in a special way, it's a small thought to consider for the contentment of our police force.
mid-day's Features Editor Fiona Fernandez relishes the city's sights, sounds, smells and stones...wherever the ink and the inclination takes her. She tweets @bombayana
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