ON THE STAFF CRUNCH
What is the shortfall in the police sub-inspector (PSI) rank officers in the state?
We have been dealing with a staff shortage for a decade. However, we faced problems when annual recruitments [of PSIs] were put on hold following the [MPSC scam]. At present, there are 4,000 PSI vacancies across the state. That's about 50 percent of the sanctioned staff strength.
How is this affecting efficiency?
It is natural that when there is a 50 per cent manpower shortfall at a crucial rank, it will affect overall efficiency. However, we have been handling the situation through a string of measures, such as division of labour. We have to live with what we have at our disposal.
When will the situation improve?
We hope to fill up the vacancies in two three years. This year, we have already raised 1,100 officers from within the force. There is a fresh batch of 500 officers waiting for postings.
The Maharashtra Public Services Commission seems to be on overdrive. How is the Police Training School at Nashik managing with over 1,000 recruits when it's meant to handle only 250 to 300?
The school, set up by the British, is well equipped to handle the present strength of recruits.
What has been done for modernisation of the force under your leadership?
It is an ongoing process. We have made several purchases, apart from raising elite units such as Force One. We have 13 bomb detection and disposal squads and combat units.
What acquisitions have been made in terms of weapons and equipment?
While I was Mumbai police commissioner, we procured eight all-terrain vehicles, six sea legs boats, four speed boats, bullet-proof vehicles, armed troop carriers, bullet-proof jackets and weapons such M82 A1 law enforcement rifles, Colt M4 guns and MP5 machine guns. The acquisitions will continue till needed.
Has the lifting of restrictions on purchases worth over Rs 25 lakh made procurement easier?
I don't want to comment on that, but purchases are not a problem. The state government is clearing proposals that we take to it and the money is not a concern anymore.
Is there a proposal to buy more equipment and weapons?
We have some plans, but I can't reveal them at this time.