AP Special Police (APSP) constables are meant to assist the local police during law and order situations. But their troubles start once the disturbance dies down. They are used for all sorts of duties, and work hours stretch beyond reasonable limits as orders pour in.
And for all that work, personnel often are not given a place to sleep in. If they are, the conditions are usually pathetic. Work sometimes goes round-the-clock. And a day’s leave is a luxury not entertained for months at a stretch.
The APSP was originally raised as a specialised force to help out the local police. But now the force’s 17 battalions (each comprising 1700-1800 men) have been reduced to a status described by many IPS officers as ‘everybody’s property.’ Its personnel are seconded to other units such as the Greyhounds, SIB, Octopus, ISW and even APSRTC, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams Police Training Colleges, among others.
According to sources, the force has a 30 per cent shortage of manpower though a recruitment process is on. ‘’With demands for APSP personnel coming from other police units, it becomes difficult to give the men leave,” said an officer.
The worst hit are constables posted to Agency areas. Although there is a rotation system under which other forces too have to serve in harsh terrain, no specific timeframe has been set. As a result, it is often APSP men who are detailed to such punishing duties.
Even personnel posted in the cities face difficulties. For example, when the Telangana agitation broke out, 95 platoons of APSP were sent to the Hyderabad Police Commissionerate and 22 to Cyberabad.
The agitation has ebbed since then, but the platoons remain with the commissionerates.
‘’They are made to do sundry duties such as patrolling and night beats but are not assigned a place to sleep, bathe or rest,” said an officer.
Sources said that the top brass have now decided to scratch some platoons of APSP and take some measures to ease the situation. ‘’Some of the reforms started this month,” an officer said.