VIPs in the state - including politicians, industrialists and Bollywood personalities - may no longer enjoy extravagant security cover.
After the Delhi gang rape led to outrage in the country against the poor safety of women, and threw the spotlight on the shortage of police officers to protect common citizens, home minister RR Patil has decided to downsize the police protection given to VIPs in the state. This will help divert more police officials to look into issues relating to women's security.
The state home department will move a proposal to send a request to the committee on VIP security, asking that security cover by slashed by one-third. This will free up around 487 policemen for handling women-related issues.
Currently, more than 2,000 police officers are part of the special protection branch, of which around 1,200 to 1,500 are involved in VIP security at any given point of time. "The police force is constantly facing acute shortage of policemen. We will write to the committee, asking them to review the entire security cover and see to it that protection is given only to those who genuinely require it. This will be reviewed by the committee, consisting of Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials and the government, and unnecessary protection will be slashed," said home minister RR Patil while talking to Hindustan Times on Wednesday.
There will be an objective assessment of threat perception and protection will be given to only those who are genuinely under threat, he added.
In July 2012, a similar suggestion was made by chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, which was put forth to the committee. Though the CM had recommended reduction or withdrawal of security cover to leading politicians, the proposal remained on paper.
Top state executives such as chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, governor K Sankaranayaran, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, several cabinet ministers, Union ministers residing in Mumbai, Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray, MNS chief Raj Thackeray and other prominent personalities are among those who get VIP protection. Elected representatives such as MLAs and MPs also get police security. The security cover ranges from category X to Z plus with the latter being the highest security category for a VIP.