Delhi Police not only lack enough men, but it also falls short on recruiting enough women in its force.
Of its official, sanctioned strength of 80,000, just a little over a paltry 8% are women who, by law, must serve as the first point of contact for women victims and perpetrators of crime.
Moreover, only a third of these women personnel is available for active duty at any given point in time. This, senior police officers feel, makes the institution of 24x7 women helpdesks impossible.
“Last year, women helpdesks were created at each of our 161 police stations. But these are functional only during usual office timings,” said an officer.
“Making them functional 24x7, at least in police stations near universities, PG accommodations and popular markets has been mulled several times. But we don’t have the manpower to do so,” the officer admitted.
While the agency’s security unit has the strength of at least 7,500, the Delhi Police has only 6,000 to 7,000 women personnel in its ranks. This, when it attends to at least four dozen calls of crime against women daily.
Nearly 4,500 of these women have desk jobs — either at police stations and ancillary departments or as call attendants at the Central Police Control Room. “Sometimes, it becomes difficult to make an arrest, or assist a women victim as a women officer is not available,” admitted an officer. “Sometimes operations are subject to the presence not of the criminal involved, but of the women officer.”
Such is the manpower crunch that the police do not even have enough people to run the 370 new PCR vans their chief has been promised. The force has now drafted a proposal to be allowed to recruit at least 5,380 more personnel. How many of them will be women remains to be seen.