Delhi: Lack of women officers in police ranks a major challenge

  • Prawesh Lama, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 18, 2014 01:51 IST

For a city that had once earned the ‘rape capital’ tag and that reports 42 cases of crimes against woman daily, Delhi has only one woman police officer for a population of about 1,600 women.

Of the nearly 5,000 women police personnel in Delhi Police, only 784 are in the ranks of inspector, sub-inspector and assistant sub-inspector. With the city registering a huge increase in the number of crimes against women, the police had not been able to fill up the gaps. In fact, on Wednesday, the Delhi High Court asked the police to file an affidavit on steps taken to recruit an additional 14,000 personnel. The court in April this year had directed the Central and Delhi governments and the Delhi Police to fill up the 14,869 posts.

The shortage of staff is hitting the force hard. Till November 30, this year the police registered 1,985 cases of rape, as compared to 1,493 last year. Senior officers told HT that it is not easy for 784 women officers to handle probe in all rape cases that are reported in the city.

“Our women officers are busy investigating cases of robbery, theft, snatching, burglary and other crimes. There is a shortage of investigating officials at every police station so having women officers to investigate only cases of crimes against women is not a practical decision, at this point, with this manpower,” said an officer.

Another problem is that these personnel have not been trained or sensitised to deal with crimes against women. Due to paucity of officials, police stations often seek help from women officials posted in other areas. The Delhi Police had demanded a sum of `20 crore, from the `1,000-crore Nirbhaya Fund, to set up a forensic laboratory and a training facility-cum-sensitisation centre for its officers to deal with crimes against women. The fund has not been sanctioned.

Apart from officers, only one police station -- of the total 181 -- has a woman SHO. Even in areas such as South Campus, Amar Colony and Roop Nagar where a large number of girls study in colleges and resides in PG accommodations, no woman officer has been posted as the SHO.

Another impediment in the quick disposal of rape cases is the lack of forensic facilities. In the two forensic laboratories in the city, over 11,000 cases are pending. Evidence provided by the labs often prove critical in getting convictions but trial goes on for months in the absence of forensic reports. A proposal to have a lab in every district has been in the pipeline for long.

Women from the Northeast are targeted by molesters quite frequently. Language has been a major barrier in dealing with such cases. Despite several requests, no senior officer from the Northeast has showed willingness to join the Delhi Police on deputation.

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