The police force of a metropolis like Mumbai is reeling under severe staff crunch, with more than 40% posts of lower-level police officers, including that of the assistant police inspectors (APIs) and police sub-inspectors (PSIs), presently lying vacant.
An application filed under the right to information (RTI) by a city-based citizen activist Jeetendra Ghadge revealed the shocking statistics. The data revealed that 43% posts of the APIs and 47% posts of PSIs are presently unoccupied.
Of the sanctioned strength of 605 APIs, 259 are lying vacant, while 822 out of the 1,735 sanctioned posts of the PSI are yet to be filled. However, only 14 out of the total 460 sanctioned police inspector posts are presently unoccupied.
"The shortage of staff in the police department is not only adding burden to the remaining 50%, but is also affecting the performance of policemen," said Ghadge.
When Hindustan Times contacted former state police chief PS Pasricha, he was shocked at the poor state of affairs in the police force and said that over 40% shortage of staff was unacceptable. "Officials at the API and PSI levels play a crucial role in investigating crime, filing charge-sheets and doing other important jobs to enable a smooth running of the department. However, a deficit of 20-25% is huge and a matter of serious concern in a city like Mumbai," he said.
Confirming that the state police department is reeling under staff shortage, SP Yadav, joint commissioner of police, administration, Mumbai, said, "It's true that posts are presently lying vacant in Mumbai police." Yadav, however, refused to comment if this was affecting the functioning of the force.
Accepting manpower crunch, UC Sarangi, additional chief secretary, home department, said, the state has so far taken adequate measures to fill in the vacant posts. "The police force is currently facing a shortage of 3,600 PSI. The state has completed the recruitment process of 1,200 personnel; they are undergoing training at the state police academy at Nashik and will join the force by August."
He added, "Around 1,200 candidates have cleared the state public service commission exams and have been selected to join the police force. The process to hire remaining 1,200 personnel will commence in Jan, 2011."
About APIs, he said they are not recruited, but are promoted to this level.