Mumbai: On an average 120 Mumbai police personnel have died while on duty every year since 2002 till date, with 98 per cent of them succumbing to various ailments, including cardiac arrest, according to an RTI reply.
The RTI figures also reveal that 15 personnel committed suicide on an average every year in the last one decade.
A total of 1,341 policemen died while on duty between 2002-12, and among them 347 (25 per cent) died of cardiac arrest while 167 men ended their lives by committing suicide, the information says.
The highest number of 687 deaths were reported from the armed police wing, followed by motor transport department with 86 deaths.
Armed Police wing is a reserved force which is kept on standby for any emergency situation or to maintain law and order condition in the city. This wing`s personnel regularly undergo arms usage training.
The RTI information, however, did not specify the designation of the policemen.
Causes of the deaths included ailments like diabetes, hypertension, heart-related problems among others.
"Due to long duty hours, a policeman cannot plan his day. He or she doesn`t get time to do exercise. Moreover, when the policemen are deployed at any place, they have the food available there, which may be sometimes unhealthy," Additional Police Commissioner (Crime) Niket Kaushik said.
The Mumbai police force, tasked with protecting a city
of over two crore population, remains 18 per cent short of the sanctioned strength of 41,401 personnel as on July last year, police said.
RTI activist Chetan Kothari, who sought the information, said the deaths due to cardiac arrests were caused due to heavy work load coupled with long working hours.
Most of the lower-rung policemen died of these ailments. The department, which is responsible to keep Mumbai city safe, is not healthy at all," Kothari said.
Policemen admit that long working hours and shortage of staff are causing stress on the existing work force.
Government-run JJ hospital`s dean TP Lahane said irregular timings of intake of food and work tension are the main causes of deadly diseases.
"If these two (taking food on time and reduction in stress) are taken care of, then one can remain fit."