Eight-hour shift for Mumbai Police: Cops shut two local arms units to boost stations' manpower
The attempt to ensure no cop works more than eight hours has left Mumbai Police a little short-handed, and now the force is cutting off its own arms. Two Local Arms Units will be axed to free up extra manpower
Local Arms Unit constables escort Mustafa Dossa to court. File pic
The attempt to ensure no cop works more than eight hours has left Mumbai Police a little short-handed, and now the force is cutting off its own arms. Two of the city’s Local Arms Units will be axed in order to free up extra manpower for police stations facing a staff crunch.
Local Arms units are frequently deputed to escort undertrials from jail to the respective court rooms. File pic
So far, 42 police stations have already implemented the corporate shifts of eight hours for each cop. Commissioner of Police Datta Padsalgikar has set a deadline of January 1 for the remaining police stations to follow suit. While this move has brought a great improvement in the quality of life for the police staff, it has also led to several empty chairs in police stations across the city. There are 41 police stations across the city with less than 150 staffers that are in desperate need of extra manpower. Many police stations don’t have enough officers and constables.
“The staff that some police stations have used to be enough for 12-hour shifts, but if we plan to go for 8-hour duty, we will need to boost our manpower by a third,” said a senior police inspector, adding, “We put forward this difficulty in front of the CP and he assured us he would consider it.”
Dipping into reserves
However, recruiting and training new officers will take way too much time, so the authorities have decided to re-shuffle manpower by cutting two of the city’s Local Arms (LA) units. These units essentially act as a reserve force, and are frequently deputed for bandobast duty during important events or demolition drives, etc. In addition, these cops are also responsible for escorting prisoners to and from court.
The city has five LA units, out of which the force is mulling upon cutting two – LA 3 and LA 4, located in Worli and Marol respectively. South Mumbai has two LA units as well (at Naigaon and Tardeo), while Kalinia has one, but these will remain untouched. Each of these units have a strength of about 2,000, so if the two units were to be shut down, this would release a total of 4,000 cops to fill the manpower gap.
Top officials have argued that rather than assigning specific tasks to separate departments or units, all duties should be distributed evenly among all cops to ensure multi-taking and optimum utilisation of manpower. “All police stations can implement the 8-hour shift if each and every policeman starts multitasking. That’s the only way to improve the quality of work in police station,” said one officer.
As it is, as per police regulations, cops are supposed to be rotated between departments at least every five years. However, several policemen have served longer than five years on the LA units. Top authorities have now also sought information on such officers and constables. “Some officers and constables have been posted in Local Arms for more than five years. We will verify on what ground they have been retained by the division for so long. In case more staff is required, this staff will be moved too,” said one officer on condition of anonymity.
Total strength of Local Arms Units
No of LAU personnel who will move to police stations
Shortage of manpower in the city police force
Extra manpower to be freed up by cutting two LA units
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