Police personnel face host of challenges due to pandemicOfficials say they have changed their strategy to minismise infection among personnel.
Police personnel deployed in various parts of the city face a host of challenges working on the frontline as 20 of their colleagues have tested positive for the virus.
After the police personnel tested positive, police have changed their strategy to deal with the challenges to ensure that regula policing work remains unaffected.
“We have mobilised fewer personnel on the ground than before after our personnel tested positive,” said Senior Superintendent Shyam Lal Gyawali, chief of Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range.
Officials have said that the reported infections among police personnel has increased workload and stress for on duty staffers. “Infection among personnel has increased the workload and stress. However, the department, in coordination with all province chiefs, has prepared a plan so that king regular policing is not affected,” said Deputy Inspector General Niraj Bahadur Shahi, spokesperson for Nepal Police.
On May 21, two police personnel—a 45-year-old assistant sub-inspector and a 31-year-old constable—from Dhanusha tested positive for coronavirus. According to Dhanusa District Police Office, the personnel were on duty at the provincial quarantine centre. They are now receiving treatment at Special Hospital, Janakpur.
Two days earlier, two of the 19 personnel working at Metropolitan Police Beat, Kalimati, had tested positive for the virus. The duo was living in a police quarters with 200 other personnel, said Deputy Superintendent Rajkumar KC, spokesperson for Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range.
The Kalimati Police Beat, Metropolitan Traffic Police Beat and Women Cell which are close to one another, were immediately sealed as a precaution, said KC.
Nepal has been on a lockdown since March 24 to contain the spread of Covid-19; the latest extension until june 2 was the fifth. A total of 772 people have tested positive for the disease so far. One hundred and nine people have been discharged from hospital after recovering.
Members of the general public have also noticed the changed police strategy. Madan Acharya, 29, an IT worker who travels around the city regularly for work, said far fewer police checks are now in place in the ciy than in the early days of the lockdown.
“In the past, I was stopped at various places. However, now the number of checkpoints have been reduced ,” said Acharya.
Gywal admitted that the number of checkpoints have been reduced, but says it is part of a defensive strategy. “There are only a few checkpoints and personnel with proper precautionary equipment do the checks,” said Gyawali. “We have become more defensive for the safety concern of our personnel.”
Meanwhile, over a hundred personnel have resigned from their job in the past two months. Former officials believe that they may have quit due to panic as personnel are mobilised to conduct contact tracing and enforce curfews in high-risk zones with scant safety gear.
According to data provided by Nepal Police, 128 police personnel have resigned from their job amidst the crisis.
“The personnel have been doing the work of paramedics also. This has increased the risk of infection,” said former deputy inspector general Hemanta Malla.
Malla warned that if more security personnel test, it might create security gaps. So the government should take strict measures to prevent transmission among police personnel, he said.
According to Shahi, Nepal Police has prepared protocols to deal with the crisis, and it will soon be implemented. “We already have quarantine and treatment facilities with us, and the infected personnel will be treated in it.”
In addition to this, the personnel are getting personal protective equipment and other safety gear, although it may not be sufficient for everyone, he added.
“Local bodies as well as the government are also helping with protective gear,” Shahi told the post.