In 10 years, as many as 168 policemen attached with various departments of the Mumbai Police committed suicide and 449 died of ailments like heart attacks, information obtained through the Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed. The information, for the period 2002 till 2012, pertains to all 1341 policemen in Mumbai who died during this period.
The figures indicate that while approximately 33 percent of the total number of deaths were due to heart attacks, over 12 percent ended their lives. This means that an alarming 45 percent lives of policemen have been lost in the past decade due to problems stemming from tremendous pressure and overworking. These figures were provided to RTI activist Chetan Kothari.
Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police (crime) said, “There have been several studies in the past which have concluded that policing is one of the most strenuous jobs. Several factors lead to pressure amongst policemen. Long working hours, long commute hours in a city like Mumbai, eating habits, stress and lack of sleep are some of the reasons that lead to ailments amongst police personnel.”
Roy asserted that finding a solution to the problem is not easy, but the basic measure would be to recruit more policemen. He feels that due to a shortage of manpower, the pressure on the existing policemen increases, a factor that is directly proportional to stress and work overload.
“If more policemen are recruited, it would result in proper work timings. Apart from this, measures to provide better hospital services and better food in police canteens are being taken care of,” Roy added.