While some in the constabulary feel satisfied with the extra time they get to spend with the family members, many feel the weekly-off system is an ‘eyewash’ since it has increased their workload. Speaking to DT Next, personnel attached to various law and order stations claimed that there is no standard procedure followed to enforce the weekly offs due to available staff strength and the relative importance, or not, of the jurisdiction. “Usually, the constabulary works in three shifts of 12 hours. But after the weekly off system, the shifts have become longer and the personnel has been asked to report to work more,” explained a city police officer on condition of anonymity.
At the Vepery police station, a few constables have requested the senior officers to resume the old three-shift pattern without weekly offs, since it works better for them, said another cop.
Senior officials, however, feel that the manpower shortage has become evident due to the new system. “We already have just about 50 per cent of available strength to do all the work. So it would obviously affect the workflow, but we have to manage with the manpower we have,” said an inspector on conditions of anonymity. “It is technically not possible to give a day off to all police personnel. In my jurisdiction, we have 40 constables which means at least six constables would not work any day. We are already short-staffed and giving weekly off adds to the burden. There is also the problem of many wanting offs on weekends,” a Deputy commissioner of Police from north Chennai said.