A new study claims to have found that a majority of Indian police personnel are "fatigued".
A study by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) has revealed that a a majority of Indian policemen, especially below the rank of inspector, face severe to mild fatigue due to erratic duty hours, extended shift duties, sudden onset of emergency, lack of proper/good sleep, poor and untimely food, not being able to meet families even after duty hours, behaviour of their superiors, smoking, alcohol intake, unavailability of basic facilities or no time to even bathe, the Times of India reported.
Mental and physical fatigue led to policemen losing their temper, showing poor judgment, having difficulty in concentration, impaired recollection of timing and events, ineffective interpersonal communication, reduced hand-eye coordination, reduced visual perception, reduced vigilance and slow reaction times, says the study.
The study, titled 'Research Study on Fatigue in Police Personnel: Causes and Remedies', conducted by Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and sponsored by BPRD, said 91.79% police officers felt fatigued.
The study also found that common causes of fatigue were because of erratic duty hours (74.25%), sudden onset of emergency (70.42%), extend-ed shift duties (70.79%), lack of proper sleep (62.12%) and poor and untimely food in-take (59.34%). Other causes were not able to meet family even after duty hours (49.5%) and living away from family (45.4%). Lack of facilities at work like sleeping place, exercise ground, sanitary and health facilities (16.5%) and behaviour of higher officers (10.89%) also led to fatigue.
While 13.8% of policemen reported fatigue interfering even with their ability to bathe and dress themselves, 20% said they were not able to concentrate and 19.6% had mood swings due to tiredness.
"Because fatigue tends to increase irritability and anxiety while diminishing the capacity of officers to make sound decisions, it is likely to increase the probability of officer misconduct, especially misconduct associated with the use of force. The hypothesis here is that excess fatigue will tend to promote officer misconduct above and beyond that which arises from venal, self-serving motivations. Even the best officers who are impaired by fatigue or chronic fatigue will on occasion overreact in threatening situations, lose their temper, and make bad (perhaps illegal) decisions. Having done so, many may do as police officers and others in similar positions of power and authority have done in the past -lie about their misconduct and the misconduct of their peers," the study reads.