MUMBAI: Concerned about the spread of Covid-19, police personnel have been putting off making arrests in offences that are not serious in nature. Personnel manning police stations are also being extra cautious and are asking visitors whether they have been running a fever as infrared guns are yet to be provided to the force.
An officer with a suburban police station said crimes against women and body offences which require immediate attention are given priority. But they have not been going after petty thieves or monetary frauds involving small sums. “Our men feel vulnerable even though our patrol vans are washed twice a day with disinfectants,” the officer said.
The police commissioner’s order to round up drug addicts and unauthorised hawkers has also been put in abeyance for the same reason. Personnel have been trying to chase away drug addicts and hawkers instead of booking them.
Another reason cops haven’t been keen on nabbing offenders is the long wait at hospitals to get them screened. “Prison authorities have asked for offenders to be screened at a state-run hospital in south Mumbai before they can be lodged in jail. There is a large queue of police vehicles outside the hospital at any time of the day. We end up spending hours there,” said an officer.
At police stations, complainants are being asked to use sanitizers kept at entry points. “We have been sitting at a distance from people visiting police stations to register complaints and are urging them to use sanitizers. But there is no way for us to check their body temperatures. We are also concerned about handling bodies of accident victims,” said an officer.
Mumbai police spokesperson, DCP Pranay Ashok, said they have placed orders for infrared guns and they will be made available to local police stations soon.
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