Not fair: Parliamentary panel flags abysmally low presence of women in police forces

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has raised serious concerns over the shortfall of 21 per cent security personnel in state police forces.

The committee, headed by Congress MP Anand Sharma, in its report tabled in the Rajya Sabha on February 10 said that existing vacancies of 5,31,737 as against the sanctioned strength of 26,23,225 in state police forces is not a desirable figure given the crime and security scenario in the country.

The committee felt that this shortage of staff has a direct bearing on the efficiency of the police force.

“The workload of the existing staff increases, forcing them to do work overtime, most of the time in stressful and trying circumstances. This not only leads to increased stress levels of police, which get vented out at times on common people, but also compromises the overall performance of the police force in the discharge of their duties,” the panel observed.

The committee emphasised the adequacy of state police personnel to perform the multifarious role and responsibilities entrusted on them.

In this context, the committee sought to know from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) the number of existing vacancies in the state police force.

The MHA replied that the number of policemen in states is about 20 lakh.

As per the data compiled by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), as on January 1, 2020, the sanctioned strength of Director Generals of Police (DGP)/Special DGPs in all the states and UTs was 117, while the actual strength was 135, 18 more than the sanctioned posts.

The actual strength of Additional DGPs was 364 as against the sanctioned strength of 310.

However, what emerged as a matter of concern was the vacancy of 54,005 sub-inspectors as against a sanctioned strength of 1,53,288, and 1,66,986 posts of constables vacant against a sanctioned strength of 9,77,540 across all states.

The committee also noted that about 50 lakh crimes are registered in the country every year, and as per data compiled by BPR&D, the ratio of police personnel per lakh persons as on January 1, 2020 was 195.39 as per sanctioned strength, and 155.78 as per actual strength.

The Parliamentary panel has recommended that the MHA may advise the states and UTs to conduct police recruitment drives in a mission mode and remove the administrative bottlenecks for the recruitment of police personnel at different ranks in a time-bound manner.

The panel also expressed anguish over women being abysmally under-represented in the police force as they constitute only 10.30 per cent of the entire force.

According to the BPR&D, the total sanctioned strength of women in the state police force is 20,91488, whereas the actual strength is as low as 2,15,504.

Observing that the police without adequate representation of women personnel cannot be treated as truly modernised or reformed, the committee admitted that the role of women in the police force has been steadily increasing.

“The induction of women and their representation in the police force not only helps women at large feel empowered, but also helps address crime against them effectively,” the panel said in its report.

Further, the police are required to deal with varied situations of public order involving women, which also necessitate their representation in the police force, it added.

The standing committee also recommended that the MHA may advise states and UTs to create a roadmap for making the representation of women in police force at 33 per cent of the total strength a reality.

It observed that the appointment of women in police may be done by creating additional posts rather than converting the vacant posts of male constables, which will also help improve the police-population ratio in the country.

“Besides increasing the percentage of women in the force, taking a cue from the defence forces where women are being assigned combative roles, the MHA may also advise the states and UTs to give them important and challenging duties, and not just duties of inconsequence,” it said.

The Home Ministry informed the committee that it had issued advisories dated April 22, 2013, May 21, 2014, May 12, 2015, June 21, 2019 and June 22, 2021 to all the state governments to increase the representation of women police to 33 per cent of the total strength.

All the state governments have been requested to create additional posts of women constables and sub-inspectors by converting the vacant posts of male constables.

The aim is that each police station should have at least three women sub-inspectors and 10 women police constables so that a women help desk is manned round the clock, the standing committee report said, adding that the BPR&D may be tasked to assess the performance of the women help desks.

The MHA may also advise states and UTs to establish at least one all-women police station in each district, the panel added in the report.


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