Rishipal, 59, was returning home after a 12-hour night shift when he reportedly fell asleep at the wheel, lost control over his car and mowed down three sanitation staff in south-east Delhi’s Badarpur.
“It all happened within seconds. I blinked and when I opened my eyes, I had three women under the wheels of my car,” he told the police.
More than 12 hours of continuous shift, 30,000 PCR calls to attend in a day and less than four hours of sleep is what the 7,500 staff working day and night at the police control room have accepted as routine. The department, which is working under a serious staff crunch, says it has been demanding additional staff but nothing has been done about it.
A proposal demanding an increase of personnel is awaiting clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The police control room has over 100 telephone lines -- among them the 1091 women helpline number, 1093 Northeast Helpline, 1095 Traffic Helpline, 1291 Senior Citizen Helpline -- all of which is dealt by a staff of less than 5,000.
At night, there are only 150 personnel manning the phone lines. This is apart from attending to accident, ambulance calls and fire calls. “The personnel on night duty work under an ACP. They not only attend to calls but also send help. There are only 150 people at night while at least 300 people are required. The control room on an average receives more than 10,000 calls at night,” a police source said.
According to the police, at times the personnel are handling more than 100 calls at a time. “It is important for them to concentrate on each call. There is zero scope of error. Sometimes in emergencies, they are required to immediately send messages to the police stations to send help,” police said.
There are instances when the personnel working on night duty fall asleep but they have to work under immense pressure as there is no staff to replace them.
Special CP, law and order, Deepak Mishra said: “Staff crunch is definitely an issue that needs to be dealt with. The proposal to increase the strength of the force is in active consideration of MHA.”