Shortage of police personnel in Gurugram hits crackdown on crimes, efficiency
With 2,471 posts vacant, police officers who asked not to be named said the staff is overworked and stress levels in the force are high.Updated: Jun 04, 2018 09:36 IST
Despite its dramatic growth as a corporate hub and Haryana’s most attractive residential destination,Gurugram is suffering from a shortage of police personnel, which is hampering a crackdown on crime, according to government data and police officers who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Of a sanctioned strength of 6,754 police personnel only 4,283 cops are posted in the 36 police stations in the city, crime branch units, the police commissioner’s office, and the district police lines.
With 2,471 posts vacant, police officers who asked not to be named said the staff is overworked and stress levels in the force are high.
The problem, one officer said, and which is corroborated by government data, is that the shortfall is highest at the sub-inspector, assistant sub-inspector, and head constable levels — three posts that form the backbone of the department in terms of carrying out investigations and pursuing court cases.
There are 158 sub-inspectors, against the sanctioned strength of 548, while there are 425 assistant sub-inspectors against a sanctioned strength of 607 and 553 head constables against the sanctioned strength of 1,055.
There is also a shortfall in constables — 3,047 available against the sanctioned strength of 4,717 — which hampers the setting up of check points, conducting surprise checks, and ensuring basic law enforcement at key locations, the officers added.
A mid-level police officer, who is not authorised to speak to the media, said that the lack of manpower at thanas often leads to the same cop who was on patrolling duty in the night to be present for court hearings the next morning, and be a part of a crime scene investigation in the evening.
Policemen get exhausted as there is paper work, court appearances, crime investigations. The number of people is less for a city that has expanded too much, he said.
A senior city judge who asked not to be named said it often results in weak investigation that does not stand scrutiny in court. “There is need to separate the investigation and law-and-order functions of the police to improve convictions”, he said.
According to the district legal services authority (DSLA), the conviction rate in heinous crimes in Gurugram is 15%, whereas the conviction rate in cases of petty crimes is 45%. According to National Crime Records Bureau, the national conviction rate is 21%.
With the number of police personnel has grown only from 3,600to 4,283in the last 5 years, incidence of crime are on the rise.
For instance, cyber crime cases increased from 2,402 in 2016 to 2850 in 2017, crime against property (particularly vehicle thefts) from 3,649 in 2016 to 4,037 in 2017 and heinous crimes against women from 543 in 2016 to 602 in 2017.
Several online bank frauds, switching of SIM cards and misuse of social media have been reported. Several fake call centres, which were using technology to dupe their victims, have also been busted.
Victims of these crimes were conned into sharing their bank details, personal information and card details that were used to illegally transfer money.
The police maintains that this is the result of prompt registration. “Not only there is more pressure to register such cases on our staff, victims are also much more open to approach the city now,” said police commissioner Sandeep Khirwar.
“There are clear instructions to the SHOs that particularly crimes against women should be taken seriously and cases registered promptly,” he added.
But another officer said that the lack of women police personnel often leads to delays in such cases.
“The women officers are less, the investigators have too many cases, and sometimes empaneled women lawyers make us wait. This leads to disaffection everywhere,” he said.
There are 424 women cops against the sanctioned strength of 692.
Apart from personnel, as per police data, the department needs to replace over 75 old police control room (PCR) vans, the crime branch needs 20 new vehicles, 25 new vehicles are required for prisoner transport, and police stations and other branches also need 100 more vehicles.
It is not as if Gurugram police has not tried to expand, but change has been slow, says an officer from Mewat, a region where the crime rate is among the highest in the city.
Police commissioner Khirwar says that 10 new police stations opening in 2017 have give the police a wider reach and more depth.
He points out that 1,424 new police personnel, who cleared the training academy in Sunaria, are joining the force in the first week of June. “The strength of the force will be augmented by 30 to 40 per cent by this. It greatly improve policing, maintaining law and order, and traffic management,” Khirwar said.