CENTRE FOR WELLNESS AND WELLBEING OF POLICEWOMEN
The Centre of Excellence for Wellness and Wellbeing of Police Personnel has been established, based on the fundamental belief that the physical, mental and emotional health of police personnel are critical determinants of their productivity, social sensitivity and the quality of their service delivery. There is research evidence from different parts of the world to suggest that a proactive approach in developing and delivering a comprehensive program for the physical, mental and emotional health of police personnel, could be an effective road to improving the quality of policing itself.
Policing is an inherently stressful profession. The physical dangers and mental stress associated with police work, and the need to remain alert and vigilant 24 hours, sleep deprivation and disrupted work-life balance, take a huge toll on the physical and mental health, often leading to behavioral aberrations.
A BPRD research study highlights the deplorable living and working conditions of subordinate police personnel. The study concluded that 90% of constables and Sub Inspectors who constitute the cutting edge of the police force, work for more than 8 hours a day, while nearly 30% of them work for 14 hours on an average. 73% don’t get a weekly off even once a month. Disturbed family and social life and lack of a proper work-life balance affects morale, motivation and self-esteem,leading to poor physical and mental health. More than 76% of police personnel have health problems due to standing for long hours, stress, sleep deprivation, irregular eating habits, exposure to heat, dust and noise pollution. Emotional trauma and suicidal tendencies are far higher than in other occupations. Adverse working / living conditions and frustration manifests itself in the form of fatigue, depression, irritability as well as impulsive, offensive, aggressive and highhanded behavior with the public. This in turn, adversely impacts the quality of policing itself, ultimately resulting in sub-optimal service delivery and an all-round erosion of citizens’ trust in the police.
EXPLORING POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS
The Police Foundation Centre for Wellness and Wellbeing of Police Personnel seeks to focus on proactive ways of improving not only the physical and mental health of police personnel, but also on their overall well-being. The Centre will conduct research and discourse towards generating evidence to identify the common occupational diseases and the factors that contribute to their manifestations, and possible preventive and mitigation strategies. Based on research evidence, various awareness programs and policy advocacy strategies are to be launched.
While there are no linear or simplistic solutions, there is existing research evidence to suggest that a proactive approach to the physical and mental health of police personnel and improving their living and working conditions could help enhance their productivity, the quality of the police-public engagement, standards of police service delivery, and ultimately, citizens’ trust in police. The Centre will focus on proactively exploring comprehensive and impactful solutions and strategies to deal with all aspects of safety, health and wellness of police personnel. These will include not only the issues relating to the physical and mental health of police personnel, but also their overall well- being, their morale, motivation and self-esteem. A complete shift in approach is called for.