Overtime, irregular eating all adds upto police’s stress

Almost half of the personnel in Bengaluru City Police suffer from moderate to severe stress owing to a variety of reasons from prolonged working hours to irregular food habits, a government-sponsored study has said.

The study ‘Stress Levels and Associated Diseases in Bangalore City Police Personnel’ also said male personnel were at a higher risk for increase in cholesterol levels, obesity, gastritis, heart diseases as such as the early onset of cardio-vascular diseases (CVD) in comparison to women personnel.

Policemen keep watch during a protest rally organised by various trade unions in Mumbai

Using responses from 605 personnel in 12 divisions of the city police, the study said both operational and organisational issues are contributing to the stress levels of personnel.

According to the study conducted by Dr B G Sudarshan, Associate Professor and Medical Officer of Bengaluru-based R V College of Engineering, overtime demands and irregular food habits are causing operational stresses while prolonged working hours, inadequate pay scales and promotional policies are causing heartburns on organisational front.

Stress Level of Bengaluru City Police personnel

Stress Level %

% of Bengaluru City Personnel

Age Group 35-45 years

<38

30.1

30.89

38.1-44

23.1

18.17

44.1-50

15.5

15.80

50-62.5

21.8

22.91

>62.5

9.4

12.84

“More than 47% of the respondents suffered from stress levels of more than 44%, suggesting that close to 50% of the personnel are under the influence of moderate to severe stress. This calls for a serious mitigation process to overcome the same,” the study conducted for the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) said.

While 15.5% of the respondents had a stress level of 44-50%, which is considered moderate, 31.2% had a score of more than 50% indicating that they suffer from severe stress.

Inadequate pay scales, problems related to coping with superiors and prolonged working hours are of “greater concern” in male personnel police compared to their female counterparts. “As these are the stressors for organisational stresses, it calls for behavioural corrections,” the study conducted over a period of three years recommended.

Stress related to operational issues were lower in female personnel than that in male, which is mainly because of less overtime demands from the women.

“Comparative picture of organisation stresses between male and female police suggest that while promotional policies equally caused stresses in both, inadequate pay scales, problems related to coping with superiors and prolonged working hours are of greater concern in men police than that in women police,” the study said. 

On the health front, the study noted that women personnel are more prone to CVD when heart rate variability was considered as an independent risk factor for CVD. “Around 57% of unarmed police were found to be at high risk for CVD as compared to 6.8% in armed police,” it added.

Incidence of OPERATIONAL Stresses based on the stressors in %

Division Irregular Shift Overtime Demands Irregular Food Habits Mean
Bengaluru South

40

75

82.5

65.83

Bengaluru Noorth

60.65

73.7

78.7

71.01

Bengaluru East

57.14

85

100

81.3

Bengaluru West

42

81

91.3

71

North East

70

79

97

80

South East

40

70

95

68

Central

65

83

87

78

Traffic East

25

48

76

50

Traffic West

52

60

83

65

CAR HQ

44

53

73

57

CAR South

57

77

77

70

CAR North

31

52

64

49

Incidence of ORGANISATIONAL Stresses based on the stressors in %

Division Promotional Policy Inadequate Pay scales Coping with Superiors Prolonged working hours Mean
Bengaluru South

78

63

55

90

72

Bengaluru North

64

57

43

90

64

Bengaluru East

86

93

64

93

84

Bengaluru West

57

39

48

88

58

North East

65

53

65

85

67

South East

73

49

51

92

66

Central

74

57

65

91

72

Traffic East

55

38

42

63

50

Traffic West

42

42

33

65

46

CAR HQ

51

45

32

64

48

CAR South

44

45

31

53

43

CAR North

57

38

36

77

52

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Sep 12, 2017)

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