Delhi faces shortage of women cops; cases pile up

New Delhi, March 22 (IANS) Women-related crime cases are piling up in the capital. The reason: there are very few women in Delhi Police.

Several women in the force, speaking to IANS on condition of anonymity, agreed that women-related cases, mostly dealing with harassment or violence, are piling up due to the paucity of women officers.
The need for more women in the force increased after the Dec 16, 2012, gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman when the home ministry proposed that each of the capital’s 180 police stations should have nine women personnel.
“We have sent the proposal to the home ministry to recruit another 3,000 women personnel in the force,” a senior police officer told IANS. “But the nod is yet to come,” the officer added.
Delhi Police have a strength of 85,000, of which only around 5,700 are women, while there are over seven million women in the national capital, as per the 2011 census. Delhi’s total population is over 16 million.
As more and more women are coming forward to register crimes of harassment and molestation, Delhi Police find their hands full.
Also, after the Dec 16 rape, police have made crime against women their top priority and thus, the need for more women in the force is being acutely felt. Women’s helpdesks are also being opened at each police station.
Women in the force mostly investigate crimes like rape, molestation, stalking and harassment. This means they are grossly overburdened with work.
“I am working on eight cases related to crime against woman. Out of them, two are rape cases. In my police station, I am the only woman officer, while others are constables,” a woman sub-inspector told IANS, requesting anonymity.
There are only 87 women inspectors as compared to 1,313 men, said another woman police officer.
While a woman inspector has to do night duties, the other women in the force are exempted from this. Inspectors are also entitled to a separate cabin.
Of the 44,945 sub-inspectors in the force, only 265 are women.
“Sometimes I am overburdened with cases which affects the output. I can seek help of my male colleagues. But they also have their own cases. I am really stressed on occasions and my days are sometimes very long,” the woman sub-inspector said.
Due to shortage of women personnel, several police stations have no women’s force.
“If there is a crime case in the area of a police station where there are no women posted, we ask those in other police stations to pitch in,” Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat told IANS.
“We are hoping the home ministry accepts our proposal (to recruit more women) soon,” said another police officer.
In 2003, Delhi Police made it mandatory that all women-related crime cases should have at least one woman investigator.
The decision was taken after the rape of a Swiss diplomat the same year. The step was also taken as women were considered to be more sensitive to the victims as compared to men.
But the shortage is felt not only at the junior level. It is the same story at the top level too.
There are only four women deputy commissioners of police and additional deputy commissioners of police as compared to 65 men.
Delhi has 238 posts of assistant commissioners of police, of which 20 are occupied by women officers.
“Delhi Police have deployed women officials at every police station on women helpdesks. But women investigators are very few,” another woman officer told IANS on condition of anonymity.
(Alok Singh can be contacted at [email protected])