Till date, the Mumbai police does not have a system in place for its personnel have to undergo any kind of physical or psychological tests, once they are recruited into the force. All the force does is subject its personnel to body mass index (BMI) tests every year. Those who clear the BMI tests are given Rs 250 as incentive.
Hindustan Times on Tuesday spoke to several constables and officers – including police sub-inspectors and police inspectors – who confirmed they have not undergone any tests to gauge their mental and physical health. They said they have only undergone specific medical tests when they were injured or unwell.
A police officer, requesting anonymity, said, “As an officer for the past 20 years, I have never undergone any physical or psychological tests.” A constable went so far as to say he and his colleagues are usually left to fend for themselves, even when they are troubled. “If we are going through any personal or professional crisis, there is no one to bail us out. We have to solve our own problems.”
This was revealed in the wake of the shooting at Vakola police station, in which assistant sub inspector Dilip Shirke shot senior police Vilas Joshi, before taking his own life.
Former deputy commissioner of police Ambadas Pote, who has worked many years in the Mumbai crime branch, said, “Physical and psychological tests need to be done on a regular basis, as any physical or mental ailments that are detected at an early stage can help prevent such incidents.”
Neither Mumbai police nor the state police have undergone any such tests till date.
In countries like the US and UK, tests are done to gauge impulse control, general intelligence, judgement, ability to perform boring or tedious tasks, reasonable courage, honesty, integrity, personal bias or its lack, ability to tolerate stress, dependability, ability to deal with supervision, appropriate attitudes towards sexuality. These tests are conducted before recruitment and at regular intervals after it.
Former assistant commissioner of police Jaywant Hargude said there are facilities for many tests to be conducted on cops, free of cost, but there is no compulsion to undertake any of them.
He said 12-hour-long shifts are not the reason for stress. “Superiors think their work is to give orders, instead of listening to problems faced by their juniors,” he said, adding physical and psychological tests should be conducted regularly.