If the constant reports of rapes, murders and molestation are not enough cause for worry, the hundreds of sanctioned police posts lying vacant in the city are sure to ring alarm bells.
The city’s police force has only about half the number of officers needed at the ranks of police sub-inspector (PSI) and assistant police inspector (API), statistics collated by city not-for-profit Praja Foundation have revealed.
The white paper on policing in the city was released by the NGO on Thursday, with Nitai Mehta, its founder- trustee, pointing out that the quality of investigation was suffering because of this shortfall.
“PSIs and APIs are the ones who are actually trained to conduct investigations. With such a huge shortage of PSIs and APIs it is little wonder that charge sheets are not being filed for lack of investigations of crimes,” said project director Milind Mhaske.
The shortage of personnel in the police control room has peaked at 52%, the report stated. A total of 267 personnel have been sanctioned, but only 127 were working as of July 2013.
The control room is the police’s main communication centre, and in times of crisis acts as a source of information between the men on the field and senior officials.
This shortfall, coupled with several other factors, has caused the conviction rate to stand at an abysmal 7% for serious cases in 2012, down from 10% in 2011.
Of the 1,945,88 cases in 2012, trials were completed in just 9% of them.
In cases of Class 2 serious offences (these includes rape and murder), 52,442 were registered and only 4,932 were completed.
Worse, there were convictions in just 352 of these serious cases, with 90% of them getting acquittals.
Besides, 91% of the 47,510 cases sent for trial in or before 2012 are yet to be completed.
Mehta said a low conviction rate affects society at large, as an acquittal means that criminals are not afraid of the justice system.
This, in turn, means that the crime rate in the area is likely to increase, with criminals undeterred.