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HindustanTimes Sat,25 Oct 2014

Shortage of female officers affecting speedy rape probes

Karn Pratap Singh, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 11, 2014
First Published: 00:10 IST(11/8/2014) | Last Updated: 00:18 IST(11/8/2014)

Women police personnel make up just 9% of Delhi Police’s total workforce — a fact that has led to a huge buildup of cases and starting to affect the force’s ability to probe cases of rape and gang-rape in a time-bound manner.

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The city police is required to assign only female officers for probing cases of rape and gang-rape. But some police officers believe that given the rising number of cases of sexual abuse — which has already crossed the 1,000 mark in just six months — it is not feasible to probe such case on time with the present workforce of women personnel.

The Justice Usha Mehra Commission, which was formed in the wake of the December 16 gang rape of a 23-year-old physiotherapist in a moving bus, had asked the Delhi police to segregate the investigating wing for probing cases of sexual abuse. Of all the recommendations, a senior Delhi police officer said, the Union home ministry endorsed six to seven points in which separation of investigating wing for cases of sexual abuse from other crimes was top on the priority list. 

Notably, the total number of women police personnel in the force was only 4,848, around seven per cent of the total strength, till 1,434 policewomen were enrolled recently. The increase in representation of women in the force notwithstanding, senior police officers believe that the number has to touch at least the 15% mark for smooth policing and investigation of women-related cases.

“Since the recently enrolled policewomen have to first undergo different training programmes, we are still depending upon the existing women personnel for probing cases of rape and gang rape,” said the senior officer. 

“What is more problematic is that the participation of women investigating officers – inspectors, sub-inspectors, assistant sub-inspectors and head constables – is not very remarkable. All together, their combined strength is less than 1,200. And out of this given strength, a good number of women police officers are engaged at various offices in different wings of the police,” added the officer.

Another Delhi police officer said that most of the policewomen prefer not to be posted at police stations as in that case their workloads increase and their duty timings do not suit them.


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