5.5 lakh police posts vacant – Does Indian Police Force need a revamp?

5.5 lakh police posts are vacant in India.
We have been debating about the rising communal violence and the surging crime graph in our country. Parties fought about these issues in the Parliament and blamed each other for the same. Definitely, these issues are pertinent but what needs more attention is the strength of police force which is responsible to handle these situations. The latest data released by our government has revealed some worrying facts and has pointed out that a large number of posts are vacant in our police force.

As per a TOI report, nearly one-fourth (5.5 lakh) of the total sanctioned strength of over 22 lakh still remain vacant. The report says, "Representation of minorities in the forces has been raised repeatedly. The home ministry's data show except BSF and Assam Rifles, all paramilitary forces such as CRPF, ITBP and CISF have less than 10% representation from the minorities."

The facts and figures:

Gujarat - 40 per cent posts vacant

Haryana - 36 per cent

West Bengal - 35 per cent

Chhattisgarh - 31 per cent

Uttar Pradesh - 27 per cent

Maharashtra - 7 per cent

Jammu & Kashmir - 7 per cent

Delhi - 7 per cent

Kerala - 6 per cent

Assam - 1 per cent

What is more surprising after taking a look at these figures is that the areas which need more security and police forces, have highest number of police posts vacant.

The report further said, "Among paramilitary forces, while Assam Rifles has the highest representation of minorities at 16.16% and ITBP the lowest at 6.18%. CRPF, which is often deployed for controlling communal clashes, has 9.24% representation from minorities. BSF does slightly better at 11.69% while CISF has 9.14% minorities as part of the force. SSB, which guards Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders, has 7.02% representation from minorities."

Why so many posts vacant?

On one hand we talk about deploying more police forces to prevent crime in states and ironically nearly one fourth of posts lie vacant in the Indian police forces. Why is it so? Are youngsters not interested in joining the police forces or is there lack of proper funding from the government's side?

Or is the poor conditions under which the Indian policemen work which is leading to these many posts vacant?

As per a rediff report, "Compared to many countries the number of police personnel per person in India is quite low: Roughly 130 for every 100,000 residents, against around 350 in the United States, Australia, Thailand and Malaysia, over 550 in Italy, 280 in South Africa and 180 in Japan. The norm suggested by the United Nations is 220 per 100,000."

Is a revamp needed in the Indian Police Force?

Our police forces are still governed by the Police Act, 1861. They still remain ill-equipped and cannot face a terrorist attack of the magnitude of 26/ 11.

The conditions under which they work are also questionable. As per an Indiatoday report, "The police department in the country is not any better than the outdated force that took on the terrorists at the Chhattrapati Shivaji Terminus in Mumbai on November 26 in 2008."

Our pot-bellied cops who are seen waving lathis need regular training and a fitness regimen. More than half of our cops don't go for re-training after getting inducted in the police force.

Thus, an overhaul is needed so that the vacant posts get filled and the youth is encouraged to take up career in the police forces which is marred by corruption and many other problems at present.

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