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MHA think-tank bats for psychometric evaluation in police recruitment

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NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 20: The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD), a think tank under the Union Home Ministry, has recommended psychometric evaluation in police recruitment to address mental health issues faced by personnel across the country.
The recommendation is based on a year-long study by senior IPS officers on the cause of mental stress faced by police personnel of various ranks, resulting in suicides and fratricidal killings.
“Psychiatric illnesses among police personnel are on the rise. The BPRD in its report has strongly recommended the need for psychometric evaluation in police recruitment to address mental health issues faced by police personnel. Psychometric evaluation at the recruitment stage is very crucial to reduce the prevalence of mental stress within the police forces across the country”, said a BPRD official.
The report has also suggested comprehensive stress reduction programmes by the police organisation to reduce incidents of suicides and fratricides stemming from psychiatric illness.
“Chronic high levels of stress affect physical and mental health, leading to a dip in professional efficiency. The report has recommended timely interventions to detect mental illness among personnel and also diagnosing and treating psychiatric cases effectively with care”, said the BPRD official.
Around 654 jawans from the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) committed suicide in the last 5 years while 1,532 personnel have died by suicide since 2011. The total number of psychiatric patients in the paramilitary forces went up from 3,584 in 2020 to 4,940 in 2022, according to a report compiled by the Confederation of Ex-Paramilitary Welfare Association. The number of jawans who have committed suicide over the past few years is more than the number of paramilitary men killed in action fighting terrorists.
A survey conducted by the Union Home Ministry had earlier flagged stress, domestic discord, financial issues, denial of leave and long separation from families among the reasons for suicides. Mental illness, alcohol addiction and sometimes humiliation by senior officials and colleagues are among the main reasons leading to violent behaviour (fratricide) among troopers.
An official of the CRPF welcomed the BPRD’s recommendation and blamed the rising number of suicides on stress and fatigue because of continuous hard posting fatigue. He said jawans work under extremely harsh conditions and become more depressed after denial of leave.
According to him, stress and fatigue, domestic discord, financial problems and extramarital relationships of wives are the main reasons for the large number of suicides. Mental illness, grudge and alcohol addiction are said to be the main reasons for fratricides.
Sources in the BSF said the stress management programmes launched by the Government, including counselling and yoga, to beat stress had failed to bring the desired results. “The need of the hour is to provide better family accommodation and improve living conditions for the personnel”, said a BSF official.
The BPRD was set up in August 1970 with the mandate to work for police modernisation. It has evolved into a consultancy with 4 divisions: research, development, training and correctional administration.
(Courtesy: TT)

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