An abysmally low percentage of women in our Police force speaks not only about a sort of a peculiar dangling policy adopted by almost all states in the country but it unfolds the mindset of the policy planners. It reveals how much serious are our politicians about giving due representation to women in the field of policing when we have the talent and the numbers available. It is a thing to be believed that there is a paltry 7.28 percent of women in our police force as per the latest data compiled by the Government agencies. Comparing it with the rising graph of crime against the women, it is just a drop in the bucket. Had it been true of every state, it still would have been nothing short of a stratagem in the name of representation of the women in such an important area but it is the mean derived or an average reckoned on overall basis. Likewise, the position in respect of states like Meghalaya and Madhya Pradesh too is precarious. In other words, it means there are states where the percentage is just not warranting to be reported in that the levels are disgusting.
How much is the position murkier can be gauged by the instance of Telangana where against a sanctioned strength of a force of 60700 personnel, the percentage is mere 2.47 while the state is a new one having come up with lot many promises and progressive outlook and programmes promised to be based on parity and transparency. Our own State reeling under Pakistan sponsored proxy war for over three decades has 3.05 percent women in a police force with sanctioned strength of over 83000. The most populous state of Uttar Pradesh with a strong force of 365000 has just 3.81 percent of women in it. However, Tamil Nadu has the distinction of having the highest number of women personnel in the state police force. Among the Union Territories, Chandigarh is having the highest number while the Delhi police with a sanctioned police force of 85000 personnel comprised a trivial number of just 8.6 percent women personnel on the roll. The data produced by the National Crime Records Bureau shows a spurt in violence and crime against the women. It rose from 3, 29,243 incidents in 2015 to 3,38,955 in 2016.
The moot question is as to why no tangible remedial action has been taken by the states in this regard despite several advisories and suggestions sent by the Home Ministry regularly right in 2009, 2012, 2016 and thereafter. The matter is squarely under the administrative authority of the states, being state subject falling in list 2 of the seventh schedule of the constitution of India .Therefore, the Central Government can just advise and suggest. All states and UTs have been advised to create additional posts of women constables and sub- inspectors and fill them too. This has been necessitated by the overall spurt in the crimes committed against women categorized under cruelty by husbands or his relatives, followed by assault with intent to outrage the modesty, kidnapping, abduction and rapes. The fact of the gory picture is that most of the cases are not reported while most of them are very reluctantly registered at Police stations.
Looking at the problem from the other perspective, there are 151 police personnel per lakh of population while it should be 222 per lakh as advised by the United Nations. This was disclosed recently by the Government in the Lok Sabha. It will, however, universally be acknowledged that even the United Nations figures do not fall in congruency with the onerous task of meeting the challenge of the size and the different forms of crime taking place in India. We can thus agree for the paramount need to even increase that notional number.
Have we a mechanism of a foolproof data compilation and collecting of the requisite information in respect of the retirements, resignations, deaths or other factors causing depletion in the total strength in order to take immediate steps to replenish with fresh recruitments? Are there transparent, clear cut and spelt out policies with regard to recruitment of women personnel and are there reasonably adequate facilities for women police personnel in each and every police post especially in remote rural and semi urban areas ? Last but not the least, can this country set an example in the world by giving women upto 33 percent representation in our police force ? The situation is earnestly demanding a turnaround in the subject matter.