The rules regarding upgrade are largely to blame, the policemen say.
Hyderabad: Mid-career training for cops seeking promotion is costing them their lives, mainly in constable and head constable categories. In the past two weeks, three Armed Reserve Police officers who were undergoing training, which is compulsory for promotion, died from health problems during treatment. All three were beyond 50 years of age. The rules regarding promotion are mainly to blame, the policemen say.
A person enters service as a policeman at around 25 years of age. Promotion as per the AP forces manual is usually given after four years and further promotions at three-year intervals. But, citing lack of jobs, promotions are often kept on hold. They frequently open up around the age of 50 and then they must go through a fairly rigorous training program.
“We are trained later we are employed. Then after 25 years, we are subjected to the equal rigorous training to be eligible for the upgrade. This becomes a herculean task as we are previously old and cannot cope with the plan due to ill health,” a head constable from the city police whispered on condition of anonymity. More than 90 percent of cops experiencing training at the Police Training Centre in Karimnagar are aged 50 and above.
The responsibilities of a constable remain physically taxing; this impacts their health. “The government has ignored the welfare of constables. Because they are the ones on the ground, their worth of life, diet and private time is compromised and they often have health problems,” said a policeman in the city.
It has been advised that short duration refresher and fitness meetings are conducted once or two times a year, which will enable the cops to cope with more rigorous training gatherings later.
While SI and above rank officers get raises regularly, a constable has to wait for at least 20 years to be supported as a head constable and by then he will be near to retirement.
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“They are the most strained group and most ignored. Redesigning promotion patterns and considering health problems during training can minimize this,” alleged a 56-year-old constable who quit the promotion list.
The candidates also are responsible
Officials involved in staffing and training of constables say that they sometimes create difficulties for themselves with the lack of self-discipline in upholding personal fitness and not following health advice, causing health problems.
They agree, though, that in the count to the pre-promotion training, streamlined training meetings at shorter intervals would keep up the fitness level of officers and improve their fitness. Candidates for upgrade are selected on the basis of superiority. After the pre-promotion preparation, a medical test at the unit level is necessary.
“But due to the interval in regular promotions and the need to get a promotion before departure, they neglect this. Even the unit constable tends to be lenient about these trials as per norms,” officers reveal.
Most of the policemen up for promotion as head constables are nearly 50 years old and numerous would fail the medical test, but unit constables turn a blind eye to this so that the candidate is promoted by the time of 50. This means that any serious health tricky is ignored.
The intention may be upright, but the results can be fatal. In the three new deaths reported during training at the Karimnagar forces training center, one of the candidates was found to have had bypass operation, some had undergone angioplasty to clear around four blockages in his heart, and one was chronic tuberculosis persistent, with 70 per cent of his lungs damaged.