BENGALURU: The number of Covid-19 cases in the State police is alarmingly on the rise, leading to serious concern in the police top brass about the health and morale of their personnel and their families. “This is collateral damage that the police have to pay for their work and the tasks assigned to them. We simply cannot suspend normal police duties,” said Director General and Inspector General of Police Praveen Sood.
As on Tuesday, there were 102 active positive cases in the State police, out of which 66 are from Bengaluru City police. “A couple of thousands of police personnel have been quarantined to break the chain. Most of them are asymptomatic. We have scaled up the screening of our personnel in police colonies and testing of primary and secondary contacts as measures of extreme precaution to contain the spread of the virus,” he said.
Compared to other districts, the higher number of cases is in Bengaluru City police since the last fortnight. “In the other districts, cases were being reported in the last three months and we have been able to break the chain. Out of 95 cases from other districts, 36 are active. In Bengaluru, out of 77 cases, 66 are active. Hopefully, we will be able to break the chain in the city police also. We have unfortunately lost four men to Covid-19,” said Sood.
On increasing testing, he said that “indiscriminate testing will only burden the State health infrastructure at the cost of general public. Our priority is to test those with ILI, SARI symptoms and with co-morbidities. We have asked our personnel of 55 years of age and above to work from home as a precaution. So far, we have tested 20,000 personnel of one lakh police force,” he added.
Eight cops in the Central Crime Branch (CCB) tested positive after an accused, who was brought to the office had tested positive. “We suspended work at the Kalasipalyam police station for 10-14 days after cases increased there,” he added. The BBMP has sealed Kalasipalya along with other containment zones in the City. One of the areas of concern for the police is while making an arrest. Guidelines say the accused must be tested for Covid-19 after arrest.
But till the time test reports come, they are locked up at the police station. “They have to be tested for Covid-19 before being sent to judicial custody,” said Sood. He said officers are in regular touch with personnel deployed on frontline duties to keep up their morale. “There are pressures and we all know that sooner or later we will get the virus. The good news is that it is not fatal, and we will recover from it if we have strong immunity,” he added.
8 bengaluru police stations sealed
Eight police stations in Bengaluru have been sealed off, with the latest being Marathalli police station where 4 staff tested positive, Kalasipalya (24 positive), and Ulsoor (1 positive). Other police stations sealed off inlcude Chamrajpet, Tilak Nagar, Kengeri, Cubbon Park,
and VV Puram