Desk cops get glass ammo against Covid
Glass shields such as those at bank counters are coming up on the desks of duty officers at police stations in south Bengal districts to protect cops from possible Covid infection.
Duty officers usually sit at the entry point of most police stations to receive complaints and FIRs from people, putting them at risk of infection.
Sources said at least 200 cops in the state had so far tested positive for Covid in the past three months.
“Duty officers are the most vulnerable as they come in close contact with many people daily. If more cops fall ill it will become difficult to maintain law and order,” said a senior police officer in Hooghly.
An officer added that if one policeman was found Covid-positive, at least 12 others ended up being quarantined, further depleting the active force. “We are already short-staffed,” he said.
Duty officers, mainly in the rank of assistant sub-inspector or junior sub-inspector, deal with people’s complaints and monitor the movement of cops under a police station.
All police stations in Birbhum and Hooghly rural police districts have installed glass shields. Each shield has a round opening that enables duty officers to speak to the person and receive or hand over papers.
In Hooghly rural police district, all 17 police stations have been equipped with glass shields, Tathagata Basu, the Hooghly (rural) police chief, said.
In Birbhum, all 24 police stations have installed glass shields.
Senior officers said each police station would get an oximeter, a thermal gun and metal fogging machine. Automated sanitising machines have come up at each police station, said Birbhum police chief Shyam Singh.
Duty officers apart, police personnel have to visit various places to manage law and order situation. Districts like Birbhum, Bankura and East Burdwan are giving masks and face shields to cops.
“It is tough for the police to use face shields when in action,” a Bankura cop pointed out. “But the aim (of such measures) is to minimise the threat of contracting Covid.”