Not even one in 10 cops in Maharashtra is a woman

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 14 Maret 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Barely one out of 10 police personnel in the state is a woman against the mandated minimum of three. The appalling ratio appears grave at a time when crimes against women have seen a jump.

State home department norms require that at least 30% posts in the police force be filled by women, barring the top positions peopled by the Indian Police Service cadre. But women make up a pathetic 8.54% of the force.

RTI data procured from the police suggest women are inadequately represented at every level. Of the total sanctioned strength of 2,06,922 officers and constables, Maharashtra police have only 17,680 women. The required number is 62,076—a grim shortage of around 44,396.

The seriousness of the situation is amplified by a ludicrous figure: there is only one armed woman inspector to protect over 3 crore women in the state. Inadequate representation of women is a key reason why police stations are perceived to be insensitive to women's problems and complaints, say experts. The negative perception is compounded as crimes against women have risen by around 14% between 2009 and 2011.

The proportion of women personnel in the state police force till December 2012 is pathetic: only 15% constables and 19% sub-inspectors (details in box). It is particularly worrisome because constables, sub-inspectors and inspectors are considered the backbone of the force at local police station levels and their visibility goes a long way in keeping the state's women safe.

"Filling up another 14,111 posts for women constables and 474 posts for women sub-inspectors is a daunting task which I think will not be fulfilled in the near future, going by the slow process of recruitment so far," said RTI activist Chetan Kothari, who procured the data.

Former IPS officer-turned-lawyer Y P Singh said the 30%-posts-for-women rule came in 2001 and its implementation has been prospective. It will take almost 30 years to complete the full quota if recruitment is done without relying on a special drive.

B K Upadhyay, inspector general of police (establishment), admitted that it would take time to fill up all the posts. "Quota of 30% is fulfilled against any vacancy when a recruitment drive is undertaken. In a course of time, may be in 5 to 10 years, the presence of women in the force will be substantial," he said.

"The irony is that for women working at police stations, there are no proper changing rooms or rest rooms to offer them the required privacy and security within the force itself. Before recruiting women, facilities have to get better," said Kothari.

Upadhyay offered hope, saying the government has received funds to create changing rooms and other basic facilities for women personnel in police stations and the work is progressing in phases.

Disappointingly, the number of women in the force dwindles further to 34 as you go up the hierarchy to the level of assistant superintendents, deputy superintendents and assistant commandants. To be fair, the total number of such posts is fewer too. A lone armed and only 94 unarmed women inspectors are working across the state, said police sources, adding that it is way below the 30% mark. There are only 217 women assistant inspectors and 209 women assistant sub-inspectors at the moment. Women police naiks and women head constables clock in at 582 and 2,097, respectively.

"Attrition rates among women and the incidence of leave are higher due to domestic constraints. These factors tend to aggravate the situation," said Y P Singh, adding that the stringent physical, academic and testing criteria of recruitment drives often prove too much for women.

A deputy commissioner with the city police did not see a dearth of women personnel in the city. "At present, there are police stations which have got one woman officer and at least 5-8 women constables. Recruitment is on and we expect more women probationary officers to join the force soon," the DCP said.

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