New Delhi: Even though the strength of the Indian police force has grown by 32 per cent in 10 years (2010-2020), women constitute only 10.5 per cent of the entire force across states and Union territories, while just one in three police stations is equipped with CCTV, the India Justice Report (IJR) has found.
First published in 2019, the India Justice Report is compiled by a collective of organisations working towards the reform of the justice sector. These organisations include the Centre for Social Justice, Common Cause, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, DAKSH, TISS–Prayas, the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy and How India Lives.
According to the report, which is published annually, 41 per cent of the country’s police stations were yet to get help desks for women as of January 2021. The only state with such help desks across all police stations is Tripura, while Arunachal Pradesh has none. In nine states and Union territories, more than 90 per cent of police stations have help desks for women.
On the basis of official statistics published in the annual ‘Data on Police Organisation Report 2021’ released by the Bureau of Police Research and Development, and the IJR’s quantitative and comparative measurements of police budgets, human resources, diversity and workload, the report found that it took 15 years (2006 to 2015) for the percentage share of women in the police force to increase to 10.5 percent from 3.3 per cent.
Six Union territories and 11 states have a target of 33 per cent reservation for women in the police force. In Bihar, the target is 38 per cent, while it is 10 per cent in Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, and Tripura. Seven other states and UTs have no reservation. However, as of 2020, not a single state or UT had been able to reach its target, according to the IJR.
Tamil Nadu, Bihar and Gujarat, among the large and mid-sized states, are among those with the highest share of women in the police force at 10.4, 17.4 and 16 per cent respectively, but fail to meet their set targets of 30, 38 and 33 per cent respectively, the report states. Among Union territories, Chandigarh has the highest figure with 22.1 percent
Meanwhile, with 6.3 per cent, Andhra Pradesh has the lowest percentage of women, followed by Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh with 6.6 per cent each.
The states of Bihar and Himachal Pradesh have witnessed a sharp decline in the share of women in the police force — in 2019, Bihar had 25.3 per cent which dropped to 17.4 per cent in 2020, while Himachal Pradesh’s percentage dropped to 13.5 in 2020 from 19.2 in 2019.
Based on its findings, the IJR notes that it will take 33 years for the country’s police force to achieve the desired target of 33 per cent representation for women. While Odisha among the larger states will take 428 years to achieve it, Bihar will take eight years, according to the report. The Delhi Police will take 31 years, while Mizoram will take 585 years to reach the target, it adds.
Women police officers grossly underrepresented
The percentage of women police officers nationally is still lower, at 8.2 per cent, and in 11 states and union territories, it is at 5 per cent or less, according to the IJR.
While Tamil Nadu and Mizoram have the highest percentage of women police officers at 20.2 per cent, Jammu & Kashmir has the lowest at 2 per cent. In Kerala, the number stands at 3 per cent, and it’s 4.2 per cent in West Bengal. Lakshadweep, which has 18 police officers, has no women officers, says the report.
Only 1 in 3 police stations has CCTV
The report also notes that only one in three police stations of India have CCTV cameras.
The Supreme Court had in 2020, taking cognisance of abuse of power by police personnel, during a case (Paramvir Singh Saini vs Baljit Singh), ordered the installation of CCTV in all police stations.
According to the ‘Data on Police Organisation Report’ of 2021, of the 17,233 police stations in India, 5,396 don’t have a single CCTV camera, states the IJR. Only three states and UTs — Odisha, Telangana and Puducherry — have at least one CCTV in each police station, while in Manipur, Ladakh, and Lakshadeep, no police stations have CCTVs. Rajasthan, which has 894 police stations, has only one with CCTV, according to the report.
Most states falling short of ST, SC, OBC recruitment quota
The IJR finds that all states and Union territories except one, Karnataka, fall short on their targets of recruiting from Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, and Other Backward Class communities. At the constabulary level, Gujarat is the only state that has achieved the target.
While in 2010, at the police officer level, six states and Union territories met or exceeded the SC quota, 10 years later, in 2020, only five — Gujarat, Manipur, Karnataka, Goa and Tamil Nadu — either met or exceeded it, said the report.
In 2010, five states and union territories filled their ST quotas, and in 2021, eight states managed to reach or exceed the quota. While in 2010, three states and UTs reached the OBC quota level, in 2021, eight managed to meet or exceed the quota.
“Governments at the Union, state, and Union territory (UT) levels have accepted diversity in their police forces, both by policy and mandate. Among the 24 states and UTs that have reservations for SCs, STs, and OBCs, only Karnataka has met its statutory reserved quotas in 2020. Among the 17 states and UTs that have mandated 33 per cent of their police force to comprise women, none has achieved their target,” Maja Daruwala, chief editor of the IJR, stated in the report.
5.62 lakh vacancies in police force
The report noted that as of January 2021, there were 5.62 lakh vacancies in the Indian police force.
The overall police numbers between 2010 and 2020 increased by 32 per cent — from 15.6 lakh to 20.7 lakh. However, the report notes that the vacancies in the constabulary and officer ranks have remained stagnant.
Bihar has the highest number of overall vacancies at 41.8 per cent and Uttarakhand at 6.8 per cent. While Telangana witnessed the sharpest decline from 38 to 28 per cent, vacancies in Bihar and Maharashtra increased from 33.9 to 41.8 and 11.7 to 16.3 per cent respectively.
Telangana, Karnataka and Kerala are the only three states that were able to reduce their vacancies at the constabulary and officer levels, the report said, adding that on the other hand, in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Assam, more than a fourth of constable and officer posts lie vacant.
(Edited by Gitanjali Das)