Railway cops are regularly absent from duty, reveals GRP data.
On an average, one constable skips patrol duty every day, shows data with the Government Railway Police (GRP), which mans trains and railway platforms across the city.
That’s not a good sign, considering that the GRP is already shortstaffed and that the number of attacks on women travelling alone is increasing – on Saturday, a 23 year-old nurse was molested and attacked inside a train at Mahalaxmi.
At least 312 policemen have been penalised to the tune of Rs1.56 lakh in the past one year for skipping patrol duty, a measure that does not seem to be enough of a deterrent.
As per rules, if a policeman is not present for duty, he is fined Rs500 and is suspended, pending inquiry.
The attack on the nurse could have been prevented had constable Devendra Shinde, attached to Borivli GRP, not missed catching the morning train after falling asleep at Churchgate station.
Former senior policemen said the penalty for not turning up for duty has to be more severe for it to work.
“The punishment should be penalty to the tune of the basic salary when the policeman is caught the first time. For repeat offenders, major proceedings should be initiated. If a policeman is found to be habitually bunking, he should be demoted or made to retire,” said YP Singh, former IPS officer who is now a lawyer. Singh said it would help if “policemen are allowed to take their weekly offs”.
Former Mumbai police commissioner Julio Ribeiro said dereliction of duty indicates the larger issues with the police force.
“There is a great deal of political interference. The solution is to restore the authority of the department.”
PS Pasricha, former Maharashtra director general of police, said: “Apart from strict punishments, effective supervision is the key to nailing irresponsible policemen,” he said.
B Shirsat, deputy commissioner of police , GRP, said: “After I took charge, 312 policemen have been penalised for absenteeism from patrol duty.”