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Kerala scrambles to protect its ‘khaki warriors’

High-level team to chalk out safety protocol for police personnel in wake of three cops testing positive for coronavirus

Published: 15th May 2020 06:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th May 2020 06:46 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

KOCHI: A detailed Covid-19 safety protocol that includes revised duty schedule and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will soon be issued for police personnel in the wake of three policemen in Wayanad testing positive for coronavirus and more getting exposed to the risk of infection. A high-level meeting of police officers chaired by State Police Chief Loknath Behera on Thursday took stock of the ground-level situation and risk assessment considering the large flow of Keralites from other states through the state borders in the last few days.

The meeting evaluated that the risk of possible virus spread to police personnel has gone high in the last one week and it will only aggravate once the arrival of trains from other states also begins. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday stressed on the need for ensuring safety of police personnel on duty saying that the government was committed to their safety and will offer all facilities to them. “The high-level police team looking into the issue will submit a detailed report to the government,” the chief minister added. Loknath Behera told TNIE that the department would give utmost priority to the safety of police personnel. “We will come out with a detailed action plan,” he said.

Meanwhile, a sense of fear has spread among the police personnel and their family members in the state as they feel that the personnel who have been deployed at high-risk spots like border check-posts have not been given right protective gears like N95 masks. Nearly 35,000 police personnel have been deployed across the state for law enforcement and surveillance. “The risk factor of possible infection has gone high after opening up of state borders. Many of those who are coming into the state are not yet serious and their irresponsible behaviour is putting the life of others at risk,” said Naveen R, a Plus II student, whose father is on law enforcement duty.

“We are very concerned about the safety of police personnel. But there is practical difficulty in directing those on duty at border check-posts to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits. It’s not possible to stand in hot sun for policing duty wearing PPE. We have raised our concerns to higher officials and we expect a revised safety guideline for police personnel on duty at high-risk zones,” said Kerala Police Officers Association (KPOA) general secretary C R Biju. Kerala Police Association former general secretary G R Ajith said the police personnel on field duty should be provided with at least N95 masks. “The risk has increased and so has the stress factor for cops and their families. We request the department and the government to do the needful immediately,” he added.

Functioning of police to undergo a change: CM
T’Puram: The functioning of the police in various sectors is set to undergo a change, the CM has said. The decision has come against the backdrop of three cops attached to the Mananthavady station testing positive for the coronavirus. “Wayanad was listed under the green zone for 32 days. But then things changed. A driver who had a history of visiting Koyambedu market in Chennai tested positive. In between, he transmitted the virus to 10 people. Of the 1,200 police personnel on duty, tests were carried out on 300 officers,” said the CM. He added that from the Civil Police Officer to the State Police Chief, the government is committed to ensuring the wellbeing of all.

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