For the first time, Delhi Traffic Police is set to implement six-hour shifts for its personnel, starting next week. This system, senior police officers hope, will reduce stress levels among officers who currently work almost 12 hours without a break.
Sources told The Sunday Express that a letter was sent on October 31, from the office of the Joint Commissioner (Traffic) Garima Bhatnagar to DCPs of all ranges, seeking a list of “major points that are congested the whole day or are congested for long hours”.
Sources said that over 60 such intersections have been identified. “Due to the large volume of traffic in the city, duty hours of traffic personnel stretch between 10-12 hours a day. So, we conducted a study and found that various intersections remain busy the whole day, while some stretches witness long rush hours. As we are also facing a staff crunch, we have decided to begin the shift system at these 60 intersections. It will later be extended to the rest of the city,” Bhatnagar said.
She said that the system will be enforced next week, as “most personnel are busy with the World Food India event till Sunday”.
Under the system, there will be two shifts — from 7 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 8 pm. After 8 pm, traffic police officers usually start wrapping up work, depending on how busy their intersection is, an officer said. A traffic constable, who did not wish to be named, said: “Long duty hours not only affect our professional life, but also put things under strain at home. Many go into depression, while some develop diseases. The shift system will definitely help fix that.”
Sources said the proposal to implement the shift system was inspired by the Mumbai Police, where personnel at police stations work eight hours while traffic personnel work six hours a day. Last year, a Delhi Police team had visited Mumbai to study their shift system.
The traffic unit is divided into six ranges, each headed by a DCP. The current strength of the traffic police unit is 5,700. Sources said that proposals have already been floated to hire more officers for the unit.