At a time when Bihar has turned the epicentre of terrorist and Maoist activities and a transit point for fake currency notes, the deployment of large number of police force in the name of security has come under some serious soul searching.
The state, which had an abysmally low police-population ratio of 59 policemen per one lakh population) as compared to national average of 143 per one lakh population, has nearly 10,000 policemen (constables, havildars and assistant sub-inspectors) deployed to cover the VIPs and important personalities of the state.
The total strength of constabulary after fresh recruitment has gone up to 50,000 while total police strength in the state is 85,000 for a population of nearly nine crore people.
Compared to India and Bihar, countries like Germany, Hungary, Spain and South Africa have almost 3 policemen per 1000 and Thailand has more than 3. The UN norm is 222 policemen per one lakh of population.
“It’s a waste of police force, public money and against the provisions of police manual rule, reiterate the Bihar Police Association (BPA) and Bihar Police Men’s Association (BPMA). Deployment of such a large number of policemen is without reason particularly when police stations across the state are facing acute shortage of staff,” said general secretary of BPA, K K Jha.
The police manual rules make it clear that bureaucrats including district magistrates, superintendent of police are not entitled to bodyguards and houseguards. “The rule 534 and 535 of the police manual says that only two lathi-wielding policemen are to guard the houses of DMs and SPs and other bureaucrats, that too when they leave the house” said Jha.
The BPMA, an association of constables and havildars, had in past too demanded from the Director General of Police to remove policemen illegally deployed at the offices and residences of the senior police officers.
To drive home the point, the association state president Jitendra Narain Singh said that 77 policemen were deployed at the office and residence of West Champaran Superintendent of Police alone.
Similarly, 62 policemen were deputed at the office and residence of East Champaran Superintendent of Police in gross violation of Police Manual. As per the Manual, not more than four policemen should be deputed at the office of an SP-rank officer.
Likewise, the IG office should not have more than 13 policemen. The DIG office should have only five policemen. The ASP and the DSP office should have only one policeman each.
According to figures of 2008-09, out of 2327 police constables in the districts of Sheohar, East Champaran and Muzaffarpur, 288 (12.37% of total constables’ strength) were deployed for providing security to 157 VIPs including 26 to private persons on their expense and 12 at government’s expense.
The figure stood at 435 against the strength of 4925 at Supaul, Gaya, Munger, Madhepura, Samastipur, and Siwan, where police was engaged in providing security to 287 VIPs including 4 to private persons on their expense and 5 at government’s expense.
In the state capital, 750 out of 4800 haviladars are looking after the security of VIPs.