Only a third of the 22 lakh police strength in state police forces across the country are deployed at police stations, the basic and cutting edge unit of policing.
A study commissioned by a central police research body under the home ministry has flagged the inadequate deployment of police personnel at police stations across the country, insisting that the sanctioned manpower for the police was “woefully small”.
Against the 22 lakh sanctioned posts in the police, it stated that the total manpower sanctioned for nearly 15,000 police stations in the country was only 6.75 lakh.
And this too, is just on paper because the last head count of policemen indicated that there were 5 lakh vacancies in the states.
“This ratio is highly unsatisfactory, given that a police station is the cutting edge of policing,” the study commissioned by the Bureau of
Police Research & Development said, while arguing for reducing the burden.
Retired IPS officer Kamal Kumar — who led the study that backed a 60% increase in police personnel across the country — told Hindustan Times that if the numbers were anything to go by, day-to-day policing had clearly been relegated to the background by the police forces, which were too busy fire-fighting.
In cities such as New Delhi, Kumar — who has pushed for 8-hour shifts for the police personnel — said VIP security and extensive law & order duties further compounded the problem. And then, there is the traffic department, police control room, armed police, and the numerous special cells that are set up for focused attention.
Delhi police commissioner BS Bassi was on the firing line last when Prime Minister Narendra Modi summoned him and took him to task for the rising crime.
Ajai Sahni at the Delhi-based security think-tank, Institute for Conflict Management, said that the political executive, however, should shoulder the principal blame for rise in crimes and the sense of insecurity amongst women.
From police brutality to shoddy investigations, Sahni said most problems involving the police could be attributed to the basic deficit in the number of police personnel deployed at the police stations, and their capacity.
Till you address this basic problem, there will be no significant real improvement in the situation or hold the police chiefs accountable.
“If you give a person 20 tasks — but give him resources only capable of handling five — you will never be able to hold the person accountable,” he said, adding that it was possible that there were some inefficiencies in police deployment.