With at least 5 police interviews and numerous other interactions under my belt, (ranging from sepoy to IPS officers) I could clearly specify one thing, “Not every man wearing khaki is a rogue”.
I used “not every” and “rogue” because that is what the image of police department is, at least today. People do not appreciate police business, unless or until it’s related to their employment. If me or my kin works in the department, it’s all good and worthy, hard work and difficult. For the rest, they are better called “Wardi wala Gunda” (Goons in uniform).
We had unlimited versions of public opinions on police. We, thus needed a first party idea of the department. So, we tried to peek in into a policeman’s life, not all seemed happy about their job or the work they need to do. The views differed from age to age, rank to rank.
Work Satisfaction in Police Department
“Our lives are like that of sheep, and the officers are our shepherds. We do as our officers’ say, work as instructed. That’s how it goes!” said a sepoy. His words expressing a bit of dissatisfaction. We could not find anything more to ask him then.
“If you are positive about the work you do, you will be happy. Unless that, you will find every job a boredom”, said another policeman, a tall, well built, dark but a smiling middle aged constable. Both of them were asked about their lives and job as a Policeman on two different events. “As a policeman, you have to work regardless of all the difficulties you face, which is what your duty is. That’s what you are paid for.”, said the later, a more optimistic one.
The 24X7 Duty
A young Assistant Police Inspector(API), who seemed barely in his late twenties or the early thirties, when asked about the 24 hour job, he puts down, “When you are about to join the Department, you are already told that as a policeman, you need to be ready for the duty anytime, we are briefed with our rules and duties, one agrees and becomes a policeman. If you mind, you won’t be.”
“Manage the Xerox in the least number of pages”, says the tall, dark, optimistic police constable, “I won’t be paid for every” he added jokingly. He was at a Xerox centre to make copies of a charge sheet documents. “Many-a-times you won’t be paid the whole amount, sometimes, nothing. Our lives are not really easy. We don’t have adequate facilities at the stations. Most of the times we need to use our private vehicles to travel to the investigations. Small dues like that of these Xerox will not even be paid for. You cannot sit and cry. Be satisfied and positive about your work. That’s how you need to work this out.”
“We never need to touch our pockets for the department vehicles. The thing to worry is we have, but a less number (of vehicles) than needed. So, we need to move around many times in our own (vehicles). The spending on petrol or your vehicles will not be fed. That goes from your pocket”, the API said. “Our salaries are enough, but like other department, a police department personnel’s salary is not spent entirely on him or his family. We have many other things to pay for, Xerox, the spies etc. And you cannot say that these are unnecessary expenses. They are necessary, you need to do them. This is what makes our salaries less. Actually the salaries are good, but our expenses make them not (enough).”
So does the facilities…
“Other facilities based on the rank of salary we get, are very miserable. If you visit our police quarters, you will find that our living conditions are not at all up to mark as compared to other departments.”
“About seniors…” he said, “There needs someone who commands, who directs or guides you. If there’s none, no proper work will be done”. “I don’t think there is anything like bullying among seniors and juniors. As for the work pressure to be concerned, both the seniors and the juniors have it equally. The only difference is, junior rank policemen have physical workload and the officers have it mentally more.” The API cleared.
Not many of us would agree to what both of them, the constable and the API said about corruption, when asked nowhere near. “Corruption of other department does not show up as much as of police department. Police department comes in more direct contact with the public than other departments” an answer, not many of us would be satisfied with. The only thing to feed our minds disturbed with this answer is that neither of them declined corruption in the department.
“Police ke chakkar me kaun padega!”
We later asked the API that the public don’t find police friendly nowadays. He replied, “The department wants common man to see cops as their friends. We are here to help them. Police is directly related to the society. How can we maintain law and order without public help?” He continued, “The higher officials have come up with a really good concept of ‘Police Mitra’ to heal the gap between the department and the public.” “Have you ever tried helping the police? Have you ever experienced the good side? Try helping us and then see what the Police can do!” He asserted leaving me to visualize the scene from Khakee, where Amitabh Bachchan says, “Agar police department chahe aur sarkar ijazat de toh shehar me
koi chote bachche ka khilona tak nahi cheen sakta” (forget the rest!).
“Sarkar ijazat de” reminded me to drop him another question. Political interference! Does political pressure influence Police Department?
“Political pressure depends on person to person. It is there, but that does not mean you need to succumb to it. It’s up to you to choose the line or not. If you indulge in any wrong work, you will also have to face such things. If you never do anything wrong, the politician himself will think ten times before approaching you! Should I call this officer or not, he will do so for good work, but for the wrong, he himself will think many times. Now, those who really go well with the ‘such’ politicians, you should understand it better (why they do so)!”
The police always come late!
The API, with whom we spent a good half an hour, gave an interesting response. “People watch Hollywood films and fabricate their views. We should then compare the facilities, which they have and our police departments have. Actually, we get the call only after the crime or the incident has already happened. How can we reach the scene before? We are not God to know everything on our own. We are humans, if people will not be vigilant enough to inform us at the right time, how we will do our duty?” he said throwing some real sense in his words. That made me think the last time I found something suspicious and ignored it foolishly, (thankfully which turned out to nothing.)
“How can you speak rough about the department that pays you?” the middle aged constable smiles and says.
“You might need a frustrated policeman for some different kinds of answers, (laughs), you see, I am a happy policeman, totally happy and contented with my job!” said the young API.
I left both the places satisfied.