CHENNAI: When Inspector Radhika* reported for duty at a minister’s residence in the wee hours of April 11, she was still groggy. The 50-year-old had to work late the previous night and slept just four hours before returning to work. “I couldn’t even see my children,” she said. This is, however, not a one-off incident. Ask any other policewoman in the city and she would have a similar experience. There’s not enough time to sleep, have food, or look after their family.
Many a time, Radhika said, her two children, aged 15 and 12 years, fall asleep before she reaches home. “There’s not enough time to even cook something for them,” she said, adding that her children have already made up their minds to not join the police when they grow up as they see how arduous the career is.
The demands of the job are also affecting the personal lives of policewomen. A police writer in the crime division said it is difficult for women personnel to get married. “Most men withdraw the proposal if the woman is a police. They say she will stay away from home most of the time and will have no time for family.”
A major issue policewomen face when posted to VIP and other bandobast duties along the road is a dearth of public restrooms near duty spots. They said they can’t use restrooms located some distance away as they are expected to remain at their spot till the duty is over. This, the police writer said, places them under extreme distress for hours. “Often, policewomen relieve themselves only after returning to the station or after reaching home.”
The onset of summer has exacerbated the problems. A sub-inspector with the traffic division said there are times in the afternoons when she becomes too tired to even stand. The heat becomes so unbearable that she feels as if her feet were on fire inside the boots.
In this four-part series, TNIE takes a look at the various work-related issues faced by police personnel