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Older cops taken off traffic duty

A traffic cop on duty in summer

Traffic constables aged 55 and above were taken off city roads on Tuesday.

The decision to give aged traffic constables relief and assign them clerical jobs was taken two months ago, sources said. The move is aimed at ensuring better and quicker se rvice to commuters.

“Traffic constables are the most visible among policemen. Pedestrians and motorists seek their help whenever they are in distress,” said a senior police officer. “On many occasions, we have received complaints that older constables did not react (quickly enough) when approached for help.”

According to traffic police records, there are 55 constables aged 55 and above. “Most of them work on deputation in offices of other departments. We found 17 constables on traffic duty,” said Dilip Adak, deputy commissioner of police, traffic. “The officers-in-charge of all traffic guards have been asked not to deploy older constables from Tuesday… (they can be deployed) at traffic guard offices or at the traffic department headquarters in Lalbazar.”

Adak said the weather, especially in summer, was a challenge for traffic policemen. “A traffic policeman needs to be physically fit as he has to stand in scorching heat or heavy shower for over eight hours. If a policeman is not well, it is reflected in his behaviour while dealing with common people,” he said. “We try to help them by providing them Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) and umbrellas but that is not enough.”

A senior officer said he had spotted elderly constables taking refuge under a tree or sitting inside the kiosk in summer.

The traffic police hope that the younger constables will prove efficient and helpful.

“Their reaction time is less. Besides, there are several examples where traffic police have chased a snatcher and caught him. That would be difficult for someone in his mid- 50s,” the officer said.