Kolkata Police: Overworked, Under Staffed, Poor Work Conditions, Take Toll

Cops fume over low salary, heavy workload


Kolkata: The suicide of Kolkata Police sub-inspector Kartik Chatterjee once again exposed the grievances of junior officers of the city police force over work condition and pay scale.

     The subordinate officers, mainly the sub-inspectors, are considered as the main pillar of policing in present hierarchy. But surprisingly, despite many fold increase in work pressure, junior officers in the state remained lowest paid cops in the country.

      “Due to acute shortage of officers, our work load is much higher than other state police. Despite such pressure, we are deprived of allowances and leaves what other state police officers are getting,” said an officer.

     According to present status, a state police sub-inspector gets paid as per Scale 10 of the Fifth Pay Commission. On an average, a fresh recruit gets around Rs 20,000 after joining the job. And they don’t get any promotion before 20 years of service.
“After 16 years of service, a state police officer gets at least Rs 15,000 less than his counterparts in other states,” said an officer. Officers in other states also get paid as per the Sixth Pay Commission.
Officers complained that they have been demanding the revision of pay as per their work load and responsibilities for long. In 2009, the state finance ministry prepared a report on Revision of Pay and Allowances. In its report, the committee admitted that the state police were getting much less than other police officers and they need a revision of pay. The committee also recommended to revise the scale as per Scale 13 of the Fifth Pay Commission.

     Then finance minister Asim Dasgupta assured to start the revised scale but it did not happen in the past three years.


Scale of SIs in other states: 
9,300-34,800 + 4,300 grade pay Scale of SIs in Bengal: 7,100-37,600 + 3,990 grade pay
In other states, SIs get promotion within 10 years In state police, it takes 18-20 years for a promotion

  Cops in other states have weekly offs, special pay for duty beyond 8 hours
No such facilities for cops in the state

Police struggle with high dropout, burnout rates

 “Until the superiors do not develop the basic infrastructure, this exodus will continue. More policemen wwill quit and the quality of policing will deteriorate.” 

Exit Door
20 of the 106 newly recruited SIs quit in 2004,
35 of the 110 SIs who joined in 2008 quit
18 of the 78 sergeants who joined in 2008 quit

Caesar Mandal TNN

      Kolkata: Kartik Chatterjee, the Kolkata Police sub-inspector who committed suicide on Saturday, wasn’t the only police officer struggling to cope with work pressure.

      A month ago, SI Rabindra Nath Sarkar had tried to commit suicide in front of East Jadavpur police station with the service revolver of a constable. The bullet struck his throat and he was lucky to survive, thanks to emergency surgery at a private hospital. Investigation revealed that Sarkar was depressed because of the work pressure and was looking for a transfer to any other wing.

      It’s not only the middle-aged officers, even fresh recruits are finding their job too tough, say sources.

      A significant number of officers recruited through public service commission have left the police service after working a couple of years. In some cases, they opted for even lower-paying jobs. Most of them blamed poor work conditions, pressure, and ill treatment from the superiors as the cause behind their switching to other jobs, say sources.
In 2004, 106 sub-inspectors joined Kolkata Police but 20 of them quit within a couple of years. The dropout rate was worse in the next recruitment in 2008. This time 110 sub-inspectors and 78 sergeants joined the service but within two years,18 sergeants and 35 SIs quit.
Among them is H Rahman, who was posted at Shakespeare Sarani police station in December 2009 after two years of training. Within seven months he quit and joined a clerical job, where the pay was much lower. The work pressure of the police job disturbed his family life, he said.

     Apart from investigating crimes, cops posted at police stations deal with law and order, road accidents, fire and various other types of jobs, including, in a recent case, catching a snake at a hospital.

      The workload has been increasing but not the manpower, said an officer. “Police stations are hellish for any officer. We have no weekly offs. Most police stations are short of staff so we work seven days a week. Often, we don’t have a proper toilet, what to speak of a rest room or canteen?” alleged an officer.

    In specialized police wings, like CBI, an officer does not investigate more than three cases a year. “Police stations handle a much bigger workload. On an average, we can deal with 25-30 cases a year but in 2010, I had 110 cases. How can an officer deal with such a number of cases and still investigate properly,” asked an officer who was posted at Park Street police station.

      The crisis turned worse a year ago, when the Kolkata Police jurisdiction was expanded to include the southern fringes and the number of police stations increased from 48 to 65.

     “Now our jurisdiction is double than before but infrastructure remains same. A police station needs 10-12 sub-inspectors but most have to make do with seven to eight SIs,” said an inspector posted at a south east Kolkata police station.

     When Kolkata Police took control of South 24-Parganas from the district police, more than 700 cases were pending at Patuli police station. In the past year, final reports of 300 cases have been submitted but that still leaves 400 cases pending, which were “distributed” among other sub-inspectors. “Each officer is handling 40-50 cases apart from their present cases,” said an officer.

      “Until the superiors do not develop the basic infrastructure, this exodus will continue. More policemen will quit and the quality of policing will deteriorate.”

    Exit Door
20 of the 106 newly recruited SIs quit in 2004,
35 of the 110 SIs who joined in 2008 quit
18 of the 78 sergeants who joined in 2008 quit

       Reasons: Tremendous work pressure, poor work conditions, ill treatment by superiors. Many left for less paying jobs

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