MUMBAI: Shocking data, released by Praja foundation, about city’s police force bring to light the struggles of an understaffed and overworked force that caters a population of over 1,24 Crore. A voluntary organization collected information about the number of police personnel and cases in the city over the last three years and stated that despite a 19 per cent shortage in police staff the overall increase in crime rate (2008-2011) at four percent.
According to the data, collected through RTI applications, the city with a population of over 1.24 crores is guarded by over 33,000 police men, which is 19 per cent less than the sanctioned police force. Also while the over all crime has increased by four percent only many crimes have increased like traffic accidents (80 per cent), molestation (47 per cent), chain snatching (35 per cent), and house breaking (24 per cent).
“Despite a shortage of over 8,000 men the work of police is commendable and we appeal to the government to ensure that the pressure on police especially in the control room and traffic which are falling short by 49 per cent each must be taken care of,” Mr Nitai Mehta, managing trustee of Praja Foundation said. Praja Foundation has drafted a petition to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra asking for Police Reforms.
The gap in number of sanctioned and working Assistant Police Inspectors (33 per cent) and Police Sub Inspectors (52 per cent) is very alarming as they are the ones who enforce law and investigate matters at the grass root level. “No doubt shortage of staff adds to job pressure but we can not correlate crime with the gap. The increase in crime has more to do with the general rise in population, unemployment, social unrest, criminal activities etc,” Mumbai Police spokesperson Nisar Tamboli said. Foundation has collected data of the FIRs filed in the 93 police stations and various other departments. Certain department like control rooms have 272 police men sanctioned but only 140 are employed in the Control Room, a shortfall of 49 per cent.
There is a gap of 2964 (14 per cent) officers in the police stations; Traffic Police is short staffed by 1633 personnel (gap of 49per cent) and traffic related accident in the past three years have gone up by 80 per cent. There might be correlation between rising crimes in the city against dwindling police personnel but tragedy is that Maharashtra State Government has failed to recruit police personnel even after having sanctioned the need for an additional 7984 officers, Mr Mehra added.
Even more alarming is the gap in the number of sanctioned & working Assistant Police Inspectors (API) and Police Sub Inspectors (PSI). The gap for API is 33 per cent, while PSI shortfall is 52 per cent. These officers play a very crucial role for enforcing law and order at the grassroots level. They are the ones who investigate crime and are the backbone of enforcing law. Combined together the number of these officers is less by 48per cent.