When the city sleeps, he is out on the cold, silent street — guarding the neighbourhood against criminals or steering cars out of the blinding fog. No perks come by his way as he faces icy winds with his uniform, a jacket and a good dose of stoicism. The policeman is just doing his job.
“There are few things more reassuring than finding a policeman on a deserted stretch of road on a cold winter night,” said Sangita Dhawan, a resident of Saket. “Policemen are criticised all the time but once for a change we should also think about the conditions in which they work and the facilities they are provided with,” says Dhawan.
Over 5,000 policemen are deployed on Delhi roads every night. Their work includes controlling the traffic, patrolling the streets and emergency duties.
“With the limited resources at our disposal, the performance and output is excellent,” said Qamar Ahmed, joint commissioner, traffic.
In addition to their khaki uniforms, traffic policemen are provided with jackets. If posted on VIP route duties during the night, an officer said, “we try to ensure that they are provided with other facilities”.
It’s a tough job and it needs tough people. Gajender Singh, for example, (name changed) worries about getting knocked down by vehicles in the dense fog. Night after night on deserted streets batters the body and the mind, he says.
But the job needs to be done. “An officer has to work no matter how extreme and difficult the weather conditions are. There is no running away from it,” said Dependra Pathak, Delhi Police’s spokesperson.
And what do the foot soldiers say? “We have got used to it. This is our job and we can’t say no. We have to carry on though at times it becomes practically impossible to perform,” a traffic police officer said.