BENGALURU: The city police have drawn up a new standard operating procedure (SOP) for their personnel on frontline and police station duties to protect them from contracting Covid-19. “There are instructions that only a dedicated team of police personnel will handle an accused and the latter has to be compulsorily tested for Covid immediately after arrest,” said a senior IPS officer on condition of anonymity.
“The cops at the police station have been asked to maintain social distance and compulsorily wear face masks and sanitise their hands. The police stations are being fumigated regularly, and tables have been spaced out to avoid crowding. There is awareness about the virus and cops are following the preventive measures, but there is only that much that can be done,” he added.
On Friday, the Central Crime Bureau (CCB) office was sealed after an accused, who was brought there for questioning tested positive for Covid. The 18 police personnel, who were on duty at the CCB, have been placed under quarantine for seven days. They cannot go home or report to duty till then. The CCB office, located in New Taragupet on Mysuru Road, too has been sealed and will open only on Monday. The accused, who was picked up from Mandya in connection with cheating Ola by using a fake location app, tested positive on Thursday.
“The police personnel on frontline duties run a higher risk than healthcare workers. The latter function in a controlled environment with personal protection gears. The police are out there with the public, managing crowds or large gatherings. They cannot do their work wearing PPEs. They have been given masks, face shields and gloves, but the nature of their duty makes them most vulnerable,” said another IPS officer.
The police have to follow strict guidelines in the wake of the pandemic, but when it comes to crime control, “the guidelines are difficult to follow. While making an arrest, a cop cannot observe social distancing with the accused. He cannot get the accused tested for Covid before the arrest,” he added.
“Similarly, can the police refuse to go out for controlling crowds? There is an inherent risk of contracting the infection that they run while carrying out duties,” he said.