On Friday morning, Nishant Goel, a resident of Govindpuram, Ghaziabad, was stunned at the sight of a 350-strong contingent of armed policemen heading at a brisk speed towards the city zone.
Goel, understandably, was a little scared at this sight. But his fear vanished when he came to know that it was a fitness-run initiated and headed by the new district police chief, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Raghuvir Lal.
The district policemen have been directed to go on such runs every Friday SSP Lal himself will be leading them.
These runs have been made mandatory after SSP Lal found out that 40 per cent of the policemen, including the Circle Officers (COs), Inspectors, Sub-Inspectors and constables, aren’t physically fit to meet the challenges posed by criminals.
“Every Friday, these men will parade on the city streets and cover around 8-10 km. I will head them each time and want them fully fit,” SSP Lal said.
Within minutes of the start of the run, a number of policemen were seen huffing and puffing and gasping for breath. Some of them collapsed and had to be carried away on PCR vans.
“I managed to reach the end point back to the Harsaon police-lines. I think it is necessary that all of us make a habit of it now,” said a police constable requesting anonymity.
Meanwhile, all that the common man on the road could do was smile at the sight. The children cheered on the policemen with frequent cries of ‘Jai Hind’.
The idea behind the run was clear. “Apart from the fitness regime, the run will create a sense of security among the masses and the criminal elements will soon be on the run,” SSP Lal said.
“About 40 per cent of the force in the district lacks physical fitness. They will soon be set in order. Those working overtime will not have to join the run,” Lal said.