Work-related stress leads to suicide among police | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Work-related stress leads to suicide among police

The Delhi Police's security wing, which has been entrusted with the responsibility of guarding the multitude of VIP dwellings in almost each nook and cranny of the Capital, has reported at least one suicide every year for the last decade.

delhi Updated: Jan 07, 2011 23:26 IST
Jatin Anand

At least five Delhi Police officers commit suicide every year.

In fact, the Delhi Police's security wing, which has been entrusted with the responsibility of guarding the multitude of VIP dwellings in almost each nook and cranny of the Capital, has reported at least one suicide every year for the last decade.

In a reply to an RTI that the Hindustan Times had filed with the Delhi Police in September 2010, the law enforcement agency has admitted that more than 50 of its officers posted at various districts and branches have committed suicide since the year 2000.

"More than 95% of the victims belong to the constabulary and, as per data available with us, only one female officer is in the list," said a senior police officer, requesting anonymity.

A 59-year-old Delhi Police Sub Inspector, identified as Ajit Singh, who allegedly committed suicide by shooting himself in the head on Thursday morning in New Delhi's Krishna Menon Marg, was probably the first SI to go against the grain. Singh was posted in the security division

The RTI reply maintains that each instance of suicide was motivated by depression induced by 'family discord'.

"These men and women deal with crime and death on a daily basis. They should have a qualified person like a psychologist whom they can approach at least a month," said a senior Delhi Police officer, who didn’t wish to be named.

Sources also blamed massive work-related stress, over-demanding work schedules, constantly deteriorating standards of living and last, but certainly not the least, is low self-esteem resulting from constant rebukes and sometimes, even abuse from their VIP bosses.

"The constabulary and not the bureaucracy is the backbone of any law enforcement agency. Of course they are less academically qualified but quality policing can only be done by highly-motivated individuals on the ground and not by those who frame policies according to theories," the officer added.

However, he added, there is a stark disparity between the socio-economic rewards and the general perception of the public towards those who actually risk their lives and those who tell them how to do it.

Senior police officers believed that more should be done to improve both the economic and professional conditions of subordinate officers.

"The first step in that direction is to provide more scope for interaction between senior officers and subordinate staff. At present, interaction is limited to a formal salute. Secondly, we need to aim for a holistic solution viz. their social and psychological health instead of just physical health," he added.

Speaking at the Annual Delhi Police Press Conference after the matter was brought to his notice, BK Gupta, commissioner of police, had said, "Investigations into what led Singh to take this extreme step are on and whether it was stress that led him to take this extreme step will also be investigated. We will soon be taking steps to ensure that such incidents do not take place due to work-related stress."