KPOA meet moots independent panel to evaluate workplace stress

Updated - July 11, 2024 01:18 am IST

Published - July 10, 2024 09:28 pm IST - KOCHI

Ernakulam Range Deputy Inspector General Putta Vimaladitya inaugurating the KPOA meet in Aluva.

Ernakulam Range Deputy Inspector General Putta Vimaladitya inaugurating the KPOA meet in Aluva. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The district meeting of the Kerala Police Officers’ Association (KPOA) in Ernakulam Rural has called for an independent commission to make a realistic assessment of the perception that police officers are increasingly turning suicide-prone, and that there is an ever-increasing queue of officers opting for voluntary retirement.

A resolution moved to this effect cited how 91 of the 148-odd officers who opted for voluntary retirement were sub inspectors or assistant sub inspectors aged over 50 years, which, it claimed, was an indication of workplace stress among the force.

Earlier, Ernakulam Range Deputy Inspector General Putta Vimaladitya inaugurated the meeting. Speaking on the occasion, he observed that the workload of the force had increased over the years. Discussions should be held on how to address it. Mr. Vimaladitya said efforts would be made to make available the services of more police officers in the district.

The resolution said there was serious internal pressure within the force, and that at least some were unable to overcome that. Many are facing familial issues and are being driven to the verge of depression, thanks to lack of rest, inflexible working hours, inexperience, and the potentially exploitative nature of the hierarchy-driven relationship between senior and junior officers. “While some senior officers like District Police Chief [Ernakulam Rural] Vaibhav Saxena maintain a cordial relation with officers, at least a section of senior officers do not follow a democratic way of hearing their subordinates and ignore the potential of organisational interactions,” the resolution said.

Women officers at police stations are critical considering the surging crime rate against women and children and various law and order duties and projects like Janamaithri police, pink police, women’s help desk, women’s safety programmes, and elderly-friendly policing. However, there is a shortage of women police officers. The meeting called for increasing women’s participation in the police force to 15% and a dedicated women’s police station led by a woman inspector under the Rural police limits.

A separate police team should be maintained for VVIP and VIP duties at the Kochi airport. A VIP control room made up of a company of the Kerala Armed Police should be operationalised at the airport.

The meeting lamented that a majority of hospitals supporting Medisep, a comprehensive health insurance scheme of the State government for government employees and pensioners, did not extend coverage for treatment of all diseases. Besides, several major hospitals remain outside the ambit of the scheme. The meeting called for improving the efficiency of the scheme by addressing these shortcomings.

Mr. Saxena, who was the chief guest, said artificial intelligence would be widely used in policing in the not-so-distant future. Association district president J. Shaji Mon presided.

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