The Mumbai police may be facing a shortage of more than 1,700 junior-level officers, but they have seen fit to deploy 150 officials of the same rank to protect VIPs and VVIPs.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court asked states to furnish details of police personnel deployed for VIP security, in the next two days.
Police sources said the number was even higher three years ago, but the efforts of former police commissioners Sanjeev Dayal and Arup Patnaik brought it down from 250.
Sources said many “undeserving” individuals including builders and hoteliers had been allotted security despite an apparent lack of threat to their being. Their protection includes both officers and constables.
Following the withdrawal of their security, the number of allotted constables was brought down from more than 2,500 to the present 1,500, and the number of officers was brought down from 250 to the present figure.
An officer from the protection and security branch, which looks after VIP and VVIP security in the city, claimed that the present allotment was just. “This is the bare minimum arrangement. Barring two-three cases, it cannot be curtailed any further. Most of them are important people and face threats,” the officer said, requesting anonymity.
Protection and security duty does not only entail the deployment of police personnel, but also includes watchers, gadgets and sniffer dogs. Taken together, it involves massive expenses, which are borne by the government.
The officer however, claimed that the protection for VVIPs is essential and cannot be compromised. “In a country where two prime ministers have been assassinated, the Parliament has been attacked, and the home minister of Andhra Pradesh set upon by Naxals, one can ill-afford to make important personalities vulnerable by compromising security,” the officer said.