With long absence from their families leading to frustration among constables, the state government plans to first build accommodation for police personnel and then open new police stations. This is the model being followed by the Fire Services and Prisons Departments, and the Central Reserve Police Force.
After last month’s incident at Rajanukunte police station where a constable shot dead his superior for allegedly denying him leave, government has learnt that most police personnel in the lower rungs become short-tempered and restive due to long absence from their families.
With the department making new appointments to increase the strength of the force, new recruits seldom find affordable housing, especially in Bangalore. Hence, they live alone near their place of work and visit their families whenever they get leave. However, with leave hard to come by, constables who are denied rest tend to lose their temper due to minor provocations.
Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister R Ashok admitted that there was a shortage of quarters. If the personnel are assured of accommodation, then it would raise their morale, he said. In Karnataka, 14 cases of policemen killing their superiors have been reported in the last five years, he added.
Lack of communication between the lower and the senior rank officers and increased burden due to staff shortage are also reasons for frustration, he said. Hence, plans are afoot to introduce a three-shift system.
Ashok said other steps planned are: ascertain whether the staff know about the people and criminals in the area before being transferred to a police station; availability of good schools for their children; examining the mental and physical condition of constables and head constables; compulsory weekly offs by giving instructions to officers to sanction leave impartially; government benefits to reach the staff on time.
Ashok said the Rajanukunte incident is being investigated by ADGP Bipin Gopalakrishna. Recommendations will be studied and implemented to prevent such incidents. “We are also planning to provide an alternative weapon to police personnel on sentry duties instead of the existing .303 rifles,” he said.