As organisations world over are restructuring themselves in response to the Covid-19 pandemi, the Kerala Police is headed for an organisational makeover after three of its officers tested positive and senior cops were forced to go into quarantine in Wayanad district.
At a press conference in Thiruvananthapuram, DGP Lokanath Behera said that all police units, including stations and battalions, in the state will operate with 50 per cent of its strength, with the other half rested at home as a reserve force from Monday onward. When an emergency situation arises, they will be called to work.
“The police is a manpower intensive industry. We have been having discussions for the last two days as part of which we have developed a protocol of how police stations will operate. By these changes, general policing will not be affected. Traffic, investigation of crime, law and order etc will be handed properly,” DGP Behera said.
Additional Covid-related duties such as checking home quarantine, ensuring vigilance at border check-posts and making sure of compliance in containment zones will be carried without any compromise, he added.
As part of other measures that will be in place, police officers will not be allowed to group during roll-call, change of shifts, parades and classes. Junior officers can be informed by phone about their duties and shift timings a day before. Instead of reporting for duty at the station, the officer can arrive at the site where they are posted directly. After the completion of duty, the officer can inform his/her superior by phone, video-call or wireless and return home directly. They must avoid visiting friends and relatives after their work.
Senior officers have been directed to ensure that all personnel are provided safety equipment including masks, gloves and sanitisers before they report for duty. The officers themselves must carry their food and water, avoiding public places for such needs. A welfare officer will be appointed in all police units to make sure the personnel have safety devices. To boost immunity, homoeopathic and ayurvedic medicines will be supplied.
Pregnant officers and those suffering from lifestyle diseases above the age of 50 can be given helpline duties at the station itself, the guidelines say. Officers are discouraged from sharing their personal devices with others, especially during field duty.
The state police has come out with a book carrying essential standard of practices (SOP) while dealing with those who come to stations to register complaints and handling those accused of crimes. The public have been advised to send their complaints over email, WhatsApp or by calling 112 and thus limit their contact with police stations. Vehicle checks on roads and arrests for minor offences will be reduced.
At the same time, Sundays that are being observed by the state government as a day of complete clampdown, will continue to have severe restrictions on vehicular movement and operation of businesses. People are advised to remain home unless they have an emergency task at hand. Movement of medical personnel will not be hampered.
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