Keeping your soldiers’ morale high wins you half the battle. Home Minister Anil Deshmukh as the head of the police force did exactly that by visiting policemen and policewomen on the ground, understanding their difficulties and taking efforts to make the police force more efficient.
It was the lockdown period. Police had blocked the road and were conducting checks on every vehicle passing by the road. Wearing a mask and standing under the scorching sun, police were holding on the post. That’s when a convoy reached there and Home Minister Anil Deshmukh came out of a car. All police staff saluted him and Deshmukh was not there for only salutes. Keeping all the formalities aside, Deshmukh interacted with all officers and staff deployed there. Meanwhile, somebody ordered tea for the minister. Without any hesitation, Deshmukh took the cup in his hand and started sipping it. Deshmukh was present there, discussing problems and solutions with the police staff. It was a simple gesture on behalf of Deshmukh but it raised the morale of his staff by leaps and bounds.
Deshmukh has travelled to more than 20 districts since the lockdown was imposed in the state. His only intention behind it was to meet his staff on the ground, understand their problems and find solutions and make the police force more efficient.
In this fight against coronavirus, the police force has a huge responsibility on their shoulders. Providing security and bandobast are routine work, but making the lockdown implementation successful was a big task handed over to them. Police were also entrusted with the responsibility of bringing outstation citizens to their native places and sending migrant labourers back to their home.
The police force had a dual fight. On one side work-related stress and on the other side, like any other common man, the fear of coronavirus-infection in the minds of family members. Understanding the complexities and psychological implications, Deshmukh started touring various places in the state and raising the morale of police force by all means.
Decisions like making available cashless medical facility, special Covid-19 helpline, distribution of preventive medicine, giving special leave to all police personnel above the age of 55 and ensuring that those above 50 years of age will not come in contact of the common public while performing their duty were a result of the discussions Deshmukh had with the police staff on the ground level.
Special COVID Units have been formed in the jurisdictions of 10 additional police commissionerate. Information like beds reserved for police personnel in the hospital is given through this unit. The Director-General of Police office has so far distributed 7.5 lakh masks, 15 thousand litre sanitizer, 22 thousand face shields, 44 thousand hand gloves, drone cameras and more worth Rs 4 crore. In the Mumbai Police Commissionerate itself, such essential items worth Rs 2.5 crore were distributed. The police chiefs have been given rights to purchase all such lifesaving items from the Police Welfare Fund. So far Rs 137 crore fund has been approved.
For each commissionerate, Rs 10 crore fund has also been approved. The police department has been provided with Rs 9 crore grant for purchasing Covid-19 related equipment and items, out of which Rs 1.45 crore has already been distributed in the Mumbai police commissionerate.
During this time of crisis, Deshmukh has proved that he is not just a minister but a true friend of the police force.