Four tasks for Maharashtra's new DGP to improve the state of policing - Hindustan Times
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Four tasks for Maharashtra's new DGP to improve the state of policing

ByValay Singh,
Feb 28, 2024 06:48 PM IST

Rashmi Shukla recently received a two-year extension to her tenure. Here are the big challenges that face the force

Rashmi Shukla, whose tenure as Director General of Police (DGP) was extended till January 2026 — she was due to retire in June this year — is the first woman DGP of Maharashtra. She has previously held top positions in the police force in the state, such as the director of the state intelligence unit, and even served a stint as the police commissioner of Pune. The senior IPS officer has her work cut out for the next two years to improve the state of policing in Maharashtra. Based on the data acquired by the India Justice Report (IJR) over the period of a decade, here are some of the main issues she will need to tackle:

Mumbai, India - Jan. 9, 2024: IPS officer Rashmi Shukla of 1988 batch took over as the first female Director General of Police (DGP) of Maharashtra on Tuesday.. (Photo by Anshuman Poyrekar/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times) PREMIUM
Mumbai, India - Jan. 9, 2024: IPS officer Rashmi Shukla of 1988 batch took over as the first female Director General of Police (DGP) of Maharashtra on Tuesday.. (Photo by Anshuman Poyrekar/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)

 

Police Vacancies among STs(Authors)
Police Vacancies among STs(Authors)

Too few OBC, ST/SC police personnel

Maharashtra police continue to face challenges in meeting the reservation quotas for SC/ST/OBCs with numbers falling short in both- officer ranks and the constabulary. Between January 2020 to 2022, there was an uptick in vacancies across both constabulary and officer ranks in Maharashtra police. Vacancies among constables have tripled, rising significantly from 9.4% to 28.2% and officer vacancies from 22.3% to 25.3%. Among the reserved positions for SC, ST, and OBC, only sanctioned positions for ST constables have been nearly filled. Additionally, the police-to-population ratio has surged from 1:626 to 1:813 in this period, highlighting an increasing strain on law enforcement resources.

Police Constabulary Vacancy between 2020-22(Authors)
Police Constabulary Vacancy between 2020-22(Authors)

Improving state citizen portals

Police departments are mandated to offer nine basic services through websites. In 2022, Maharashtra was among a handful of states that showed maximum compliance, failing only to fully comply with Section 41C of the CrPC, 1973, which requires the state government to ensure that the names and addresses of individuals arrested, along with the names and designations of the police officers responsible for the arrests, are prominently displayed on the notice board located outside the control rooms in each district. The state is also not providing complete information regarding missing or kidnapped individuals, including any matches with arrested, unidentified persons, or deceased bodies, details concerning stolen or recovered vehicles, arms, and other properties and provide services for verification related to servants, employment, passport applications, senior citizen registrations, and similar matters.

Maharashtra Police Officer Vacancy(Authors)
Maharashtra Police Officer Vacancy(Authors)

Recruit more women

 

Maharashtra currently has 1,168 police stations but only 1,570 women Sub-Inspectors (SIs). Multiple ministry of home affairs (MHA) advisories suggest that there should be at least three women sub-inspectors per police station. To meet this benchmark, Maharashtra would need 1934 more (about a 123% increase from existing women SIs) additional women SIs. Therefore, the police department must prioritise women in all future recruitment drives till it meets this staffing norm. As of January 2022, the women's share in the police was approximately 17%, with an even lower proportion among officers (around 7%), significantly falling short of the 30% reservation.

Install CCTVs at multiple points in all police stations

 

Following earlier judgements and the 239th Law Commission’s recommendation, the Supreme Court, in Paramvir Singh Saini vs Baljit Singh ordered the installation of CCTV cameras in all police stations. However as per our analysis, while Maharashtra has partially complied by forming State Level Oversight Committees, and District Level Oversight Committees, it is yet to install CCTVs with audio-video, night vision and large storage capacities in all 1168 police stations in the state. According to data provided by the Bureau of Police Research and Development, as of 2022 only 663 police stations had at least one CCTV.

Valay Singh is lead, India Justice Report. Arshi Showkat is a researcher with India Justice Report. The views expressed are personal.

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