Varappuzha (Ernakulam): The Varappuzha police have a hefty job in hand. The police station has a vast area to guard, including a sizable stretch of the national highway 17 and nine islands scattered across the backwaters of Kochi, yet is manned by just 10 cops or lesser in effect.
The station is one of the sparsely guarded areas under the control of the Ernakulam rural police. The police are helplessin front of the drug peddlers and anti-social elements who have been having a free run in the poorly developed suburbs of the city.
The Varappuzha police station has a strength of 21 civil police officers on paper-a number assigned to it since it was carved out of the Eloor police station several years ago.
In reality, only 16 civil police officers have been posted to the station.
Six of them are attached to the offices of the deputy superintendent of police and the circle inspector of police.
Of the 10 remaining cops, one is assigned to “spider duty” and two to the traffic wing. Discount those on court duties and those on leave, and the effective strength is reduced to five on most days. The five share the policing job between them, through the day and night shifts.
The station has only one driver and thus the other cops, inclusing the sub inspector chip in as drivers.
The Varappuzha police are supposed to rush in whenever a vehicle meets with an accident on the stretch of NH 17. The cops are stretched beyond their capacity when they are required to patrol the remote islands between Koonammavu and Kadamakkudy. The cops do not have a boat on their own, leaving them with no alternative to reach the islets after the ferry services stop at10 pm.
The area is also dotted with temples and places of worship. There were four local festivals in the station limits during the last week but sparing even a singl cop to police one event was a hard job.
The station does not even have an additional sub inspector, while adjacent stations have more than five additional sub inspectors and grade inspectors.
The home department must fill the existing vacancies even if it cannot raise the capacity of the police station in the immediate.
The space constraint also means that the policemen are not even able to park the vehicles taken into custody.
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