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Publication:Times of India Mumbai; Date:Jun 28, 2007; Section:Times Nation; Page Number:15

Publication:Times of India Mumbai; Date:Jun 28, 2007; Section:Times Nation; Page Number:15

52% Punjab cops drug addicts Suspending Them Not A Solution: Officers Rohit Mullick | TNN

Chandigarh: Punjab police, which earned laurels for waging a successful war against militancy in Punjab throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, today seems to be fighting a losing battle to drug addiction.

    A survey conducted by the police department in border districts of Amritsar, Taran Taran and Gurdaspur has put the percentage of addicts, including alcoholics, in the force at a staggering 52%. IG (border zone) R P Meena said, “Over half of the policemen in border regions are alcoholics or into drugs. They are up to the rank of inspectors.’’ While many of them have turned alcoholic, the rest are falling prey to opium. There is also a small percentage of policemen who use drugs such as smack and heroin.

    But now that the Punjab police have woken up to the reality, steps are being taken to clean up the Aegean stables.

    All the SSPs have been asked to identify addicted personnel in their districts and once a clear picture emerges, the department will start organising de-addiction camps. Meena said, “All the cops who are alcoholics or into drugs will also be provided counselling on a regular basis.’’ The IG said personnel are becoming addicts due to increased job stress, long duty hours and easy availability of drugs, which do not cost much.

    However, Meena said, “The problem of drugs among policemen shouldn’t be looked at differently. It just reflects the overall picture of Punjab society, which is in the grip of drugs and alcohol abuse.’’ Senior police officers said suspension is not an answer to the problem.

    An officer said thousands of policemen will lose their jobs if they are suspended but this will not help them quit drugs and alcohol. The officer said the police department alone is not in a position to solve the problem of drug menace and added the government should also extend help in conducting research and opening drug-de-addiction centres.

    He confessed that drug addiction was one of the major reasons why cops turn into criminals. A senior officer said a number of policemen who are addicts get into drug peddling and other crimes like bank robberies and assaults. In the last three months, the Punjab police have registered 87 criminal cases involving 115 policemen.

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