Kathmandu, Apr. 12: For years, the lower echelons of the Nepal Police have been obliged to work up to 12 to 18 hours a day due to lack of manpower and enough vacancies.
Even though the annual leave of police constables and followers is becoming easier, the obligation to work for 18 hours a day has not been settled yet. The Police Headquarters had planned to reduce the duty hours of lower level police by mid-March, 2021 after the Headquarters conducted a survey few months back with them to resolve their personal and institutional problems. “Efforts are being made to reduce their duty hours. Despite the efforts, it has not been possible due to various technical reasons,” said police spokesperson and Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Basanta Bahadur Kunwar. In some areas, reducing the duty hour may sometime affect the security arrangement , he said.
The Police Headquarters had conducted a survey to understand the problems of lower ranks after the cases of resigning the job increased.
Nearly 5,000 policemen, who participated in the survey, said that they had to work 12 to 18 hours a day, did not get leave as required and the leave was not transparent, there was no proper evaluation of work, and behaviour and opportunities were not equal.
Following the survey, the Headquarters made arrangements to grant leave for at least 42 days in a year from November, 2020 to boost their morale, SSP Kunwar said.
To implement it, monitoring has been done through software and action has been taken against any police officer or chief of the concerned police office for not granting them adequate number of leaves. A Superintendent of Police (SP) post has been designated as focal person at the Police Headquarters to coordinate their leaves.
Due to lack of manpower, the policemen are not getting leave as per the police regulations, SSP Kunwar conceded. The regulations provide 30 days home leave and 12 days casual leave. Due to lack of manpower and vacancies, the police have a strenuous workload. It takes about a year of training to recruit and deploy the police. In the same period, thousands of posts have become vacant.
For this, there was a discussion on the need to start the recruitment process for the police who get compulsory retirement within a year. Police in the Valley and Terai districts in particular had to work long hours, the survey said.
Meanwhile, a police constable at Metropolitan Police Range, Kathmandu, on condition of anonymity said when one particular senior police officer stayed on leave at least for a day, a junior policeman had to work more than 12 hours.
“We even don’t get our overtime allowance but have to be on duty for the whole day and night,” said a police constable at the Range. Some constables and juniors having their influence upon their seniors and political access do manage everything, said the constable. Former AIG Rajendra Singh Bhandari said when the Headquarters failed to manage a proper policy for leave to the juniors, they either leave the job one day or are compelled to become victim of mental pressure and ultimately falter in duty.
– The Rising Nepal