Numbers low, but women in police having effect
The all-woman police control room (PCR) vehicles have been successful in driving home the message of safety and security for women in distress across the tricity. But much of it remains just a message, as the union home ministry's advisory for 30% women in the force remains to be followed in all three cities.chandigarh Updated: Nov 29, 2013 17:20 IST
The all-woman police control room (PCR) vehicles have been successful in driving home the message of safety and security for women in distress across the tricity. But much of it remains just a message, as the union home ministry's advisory for 30% women in the force remains to be followed in all three cities.
Chandigarh police has 6,000 personnel, of which about 1,000 are women, that is, 17% of the force. In SAS Nagar, there are 1,400 cops, of which just 70 are women cops, which is a dismal 5%. In Panchkula, there are 650 regular cops, 60 of them women. Besides this, Panchkula has a reserve of around 50 women cops in its dedicated rapid action force. The percentages vary as, top officers claim, women cops are deployed as per guidelines of the government in different states.
There is a woman deputy superintendent of police (DSP) in Chandigarh, and 15 inspectors. SAS Nagar's women cops are constables and assistant sub-inspectors. In Panchkula, the women include an assistant commissioner of police and an inspector.
The all-woman PCR vans, three of them, were launched in Chandigarh in February this year. With all staff except the driver being female, these mostly remain posted outside the Sector-11 and -42 government colleges for girls. They are actually for the east, central and south divisions - areas under these divisions include the Sector-26 colleges, the IT Park, malls like Fun Republic and DT. In the past nine months, the all-woman PCR vehicles have dealt with 185 complaints.
SAS Nagar and Panchkula have one such van each. They are the first ones to reach the spot when the women helpline (Dial 1091) gets a complaint. In case the distance is more, it is this special team that ensures help reaches the complainant at the earliest, and thus it works in close coordination with various police stations and the control room.
Complaints range from lewd remarks, stalking and even attempts to outrage modesty. In Chandigarh, most complaints are received by central division, that is, the area near Sector-11 colleges, while the east and south divisions follow in that order.
UT's deputy superintendent of police (PCR and communication) Roshan Lal says, "During the day, as many as 40 woman cops posted with the PCR are on duty. At night there are two each in three PCR vehicles shared by male staff."
The Chandigarh police have even deployed woman cops in mufti (civil clothes) in buses. PCR vehicles have also been instructed to drop women home or wherever they want if they get a call. As there is lack of proper public transport across the city at night, PCR vehicles have, at least a couple of times, dropped women home after midnight.
Need 30% women in force, asked centre
Early this year, the union home secretary asked all states to ensure that 30% of their police force consisted of women. The letter to chief secretaries said, "Each police station should have at least three women sub-inspectors and 10 women police constables, so that a woman's help desk is manned round the clock. The objective should be to reach a level of 30% of strength."
"Low representation of women in police forces creates both a psychological and impregnable barrier to women to approach police stations when a crime is committed against them," said the letter.
4% Is the average representation of women in police in India
17% Concentration of women in Chandigarh Police
10% Women in police force of Panchkula
5% Is proportion of women in SAS Nagar police
All-woman police control room vans definitely help. Girls can go and register their complaint to the female officers without hesitation. Since these vehicles keep moving around, women don't need to go to the police stations.
Nawab, resident of SAS Nagar.
Need more initiatives
The WASPS and woman PCRs are a good initiative. Such steps are needed as there has been an increase in complaints of sexual harassment. More such initiatives need to be taken.
Deepti, student, Chandigarh.
The all-woman PCR vans are a great move. Police in other cities of Punjab and Haryana should follow suit. Suhc PCR vehicles and dedicated helplines will not only solve sexual harassment cases but also domestic violence.
Rajni Saini, Nawanshahar native visiting Chandigarh.
Proving a boon
PCR vans with woman cops are a boon for women travelling at night. In case of even a car failure, they can approach the police without fear. Safety measures for girls are the need of the hour, as more women are working.
Saurabh Grover, IT professional, SAS Nagar.
When PCR vans with woman cops are near any institute or isolated area, girls get confidence. It also proves to be a deterrent for men indulging in harassment. Things have changed for the better.
private firm employee, Chandigarh.
Authorities need to take more steps for the safety of women. Only deploying PCR vans and helplines would not help. We need awareness. The mindset of men also needs to be changed. Indeed, woman cops' deployment at night is a help for late-night commuters.
Harsimran Kaur, Kharar.