| Pune |
Updated: September 28, 2020 10:49:28 pm
WITH 664 deaths and over 1.21 lakh personnel from state police forces and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) testing positive for the novel coronavirus — constituting around 2 per cent of the total caseload of India — Indian Police Foundation (IPF), which is collating the data, has written to the state police authorities across India pressing for an annual health check-up of the entire forces.
According to data collated by IPF, 1,21,903 cases have been reported among personnel in state police forces and CAPF to date. In terms of total number of positive cases, Maharashtra police (21,988), Central Reserve Police Force (10,267), Border Security Force (8,934), West Bengal police (7,963), and Central Industrial Security Force (7,612) have the highest number of cases in the country.
The data shows that case occurrence in state police forces is higher than that of CAPF, as calculated by total cases as a percentage of total force strength.
Speaking to The Indian Express, retired IPS officer N Ramachandran, president and founder of IPF, said, “We have been observing the growth of Covid cases in the state police and CAPF in the last three months. Over a period now, the number has remained around 2 per cent of the total number of cases in India. While this number is now steady, it is a high number for a group of specific professions among a country’s population. This means that one in 50 people affected by Covid-19 is a cop. While these numbers and number of deaths are worrying, there is no denying that the nature of police duties make the personnel a high-risk group. With most activities returning to normal, and with upcoming elections in Bihar, the exposure is going to increase.”
Ramachandran said, “We have been talking of issues related to the overall health of police personnel. Various factors, including nature of duty and odd working hours, result in lifestyle ailments, especially after 10 to 15 years of service. It has come to our notice, while CAPF does have a system of annual health check-up, many state police forces still do not have that. In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and deaths due to co-morbidities, we have recently written to individual state police forces to conduct regular annual health check-ups. Even an advisory in this regard from the home ministry may act as a directive for state police forces to focus more on improving the general health of the force.”
To date, 664 personnel have died of Covid-19 across the country. Maharashtra (239), CRPF (46), Telangana (44), Karnataka (44), and CISF (29) have reported the highest number of deaths.
Since March, state police forces have been deployed for enforcement of movement restriction, contact tracing, security at Covid facilities, facilitating movement of stranded people, ensuring supply chain of resources in addition to regular duties. Personnel from CAPF has been moved in large numbers to augment state police forces to perform these tasks. These deployments were in addition to existing charter of duties.
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