Hyderabad: India reported the first case of novel coronavirus on January 30, 2020. The government, since then has encouraged wearing masks, physical distancing, avoiding public gathering, shutting down non-essential establishments, and other preventive measures against COVID-19. Police were among the first responders to the COVID-19 pandemic and are popularly listed among the ‘Corona Warriors,’ along with health care personnel.
The pandemic has required many police personnel to adopt responsibility for the emergencies that were not part of their regular work profile. From last 16 months, police personnel are working tirelessly. At a time when the second wave of the outbreak is raging around India, Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP), Gautam Sawang, has directed all the district police officers to follow a 10-point guideline made by a state police officer to avoid the infection.
Sawang was referring to the 'Dasa Sutras' (10 rules) submitted by Prakasam District Superintendent of Police (SP) Siddarth Kaushal last year to enable the district police personnel to avoid contracting the infection. The project was also nominated for the prestigious ‘SKOCH Award 2020’. The SKOCH Award 2020 is conferred on India’s extremely talented people from differnt fields for their outstanding contribution to the society.
The 10 rules are part of the district police department's overall response to COVID.
No free movement: The Dasa Sutras include no free movement of public in police stations. Entry and exit points should be clearly defined.
Outdoor reception: Complainants who come with complaints should go through thermal screening and only be permitted through a disinfection tunnel. The police personnel at the reception centre should receive and speak to the complainants through the separation counter, maintaining social distance.
Sanitisation: All the police stations in the district must be sterilised and sanitised regularly. Likewise, under assured access to medical goods and services, medicines, oxymeters, supplements and oxygen cylinders should be made available to the police personnel.
Restricted area: Up to 90 per cent of police station premises should be designated as restricted areas and people like courier and delivery boys should not be permitted into the station premises.
Restriction on movement of personnel: Under the movement control rule, police personnel are prohibited from travelling to another state during holidays. They should also be restrained from going to other states as well as other districts where COVID cases are high. Only in case of emergency, the police personnel can be sent on leave with full permission and their travel details should be sent to the COVID cell.
Compartmentalisation: As part of the compartmentalisation of staff, duties must be divided into two shifts, 7 am to 3 pm and 3 pm to 10 pm, depending on the number of staff working in the police station
Under no circumstances they should be kept at the police station. Only young people should be on guard duty in relation to the arrested suspects and special kits for COVID care should be given to them. According to the SOPs for all outdoor duties, only healthy personnel and the youth should be allocated to other states or districts for peacekeeping and other purposes. They should be released only after the concerned SHO and superiors have conducted an awareness programme on the Covid precautions.
Detention centres at circle level: Likewise, under the detention centres at the circle level, when the accused are arrested as part of investigation, they should be kept in a specially designated detention centre within the limits of the police station.
Spot sanitisation: Foot operated sanitizer dispenser or hand wash facility was installed in the police stations to see that nobody is allowed to enter the premises without sanitisation.
Daily report: Everyday a report should be prepared on the health condition of the police personnel, containing details such as BMI, SPO2, body temperature, body pain, fatigue, vertigo, cough and other details.
Keep a track: The police officers should keep a track of the number of beds available in their respective areas and sub-divisions in the districts, with details such as oxygen powered beds, general beds, ICU beds and availability of specialists and drugs.
(With agency inputs)