Marine Drive police station’s senior officers don’t particularly look forward to the Indian Premier League’s matches in the city.
Despite the severe shortage of officers there, especially at the Police Sub-Inspector (PSI) rank, each time an IPL match is played at Brabourne stadium near Churchgate, their already thinly stretched team is pushed into security at the venue — further delaying pending case investigations and policing activities.
Anti-Narcotics Cell bosses are trying to balance pending cases with fresh information that needs urgent action — with only two PSIs. “Let’s act on the information before the trail ends — the investigation can begin later,” a senior official called out, as the two PSIs closed files and prepared for a raid.
On paper, Mumbai Police has a 42,000-strong force, with 3,200 PSIs. In practise, it manages with 1,500 PSIs.
The force’s big blow came with the MPSC scam (see box). After the scam surfaced, and a case was registered in 2002, MPSC recruitments for the posts of PSIs and Deputy Superintendents of Police were stopped for five years.
In those five years, the recruitment freeze has hurt the police substantially, causing a severe shortage of these officers. The PSI is the first ranking officer in the police department hierarchy. Their numbers are higher compared to any other ranking officer and they perform the maximum tasks in any department, from police stations to special branches.
“It (PSI shortage) affects us in every possible way,” said Mumbai Police Commissioner D. Sivanandhan. “The burden of work has to be shared. When there is a deficiency in manpower, it has a resultant effect on efficiency,” he explained.
He said PSIs carry out a range of duties, including registration of offences, filing of chargesheets and security arrangements. A senior Mumbai police official, requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media, said the shortfall of PSIs has resulted in unprecedented vacancies in special branches such as the Crime Branch. “It has affected our work from all sides,” he said.