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Work stress, poor facilities affect cops

These are some of the extreme pressures under which policemen have to function every day, experts point out.

india Updated: Jan 26, 2007 12:39 IST

Did you know that constables often get no weekly offs in India? And there are police stations where the force has to make do with just one jeep and gets just about a day to crack a case.

These are some of the extreme pressures under which policemen have to function every day, experts point out, shedding light on the reasons for the poor performance of the force.

"I don't say that the police is not at fault but let's just not expect them to be super human beings. We need to see both sides of the issue," said Uttar Pradesh police official Anju Gupta who was in New Delhi for a talk on missing children in India.

"The police forces have an enormous amount of work load because they are involved in non-core functions like providing security to VIPs most of the time," she said.

"The most visible face of the police force, the constable, doesn't get any weekly off days, doesn't get to celebrate festivals with his family because of the beefed-up security during those times and is constantly seeing the negative and dark side of things."

Supporting her, Sanker Sen of the Centre for Social Research said the efficiency of a police official is often determined by the crime figures in his locality. Because of this there is constant pressure of keeping the numbers low, sometimes by not registering crime cases at all.

"Hence when the poor man goes to the police to register a case, the latter is hesitant because that will add to the numbers. A perfect example of this is (Chief Minister) Mulayam Singh Yadav who says that there's no problem with Uttar Pradesh because the crime figures are so low," he said.

Taking the example of a police station in Sahranpur, a town in Uttar Pradesh, Gupta said: "The police there have just one jeep and all the maintenance charges goes from their pockets."

She also said they are extremely short-staffed. Citing Sahranpur again, she said on an average, an official there gets 1.1 mandays to investigate a case!

Talking about missing children in India, she admitted: "The conditions of the care homes for the rescued victims of trafficking are so deplorable that at times I feel guilty about rescuing them in the first place. I feel that they are much better off in a brothel!"

At the same time, she pointed out that while the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had some figures for missing children, it didn't have statistics on kids who had been traced.

According to Gupta, 50-60 per cent of the children were traced but there were no records of the actual data.