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Only 401 junior female officers in 40,000-strong Mumbai police force

India on 08 October 2014
Location : Maharashtra | Source : Times of India. Image Source: flickr user flyingcloud

For a city where crimes against women are frequently reported, the strength of junior female officers in the police force—sub-inspector to inspector rank—is a dismal 401. Of these, a mere 15%
are inspector-rank officers and another 14% are assistant police inspectors.

Even as police commissioner Rakesh Maria deployed nearly 1,500 female constables for police station duty from this year, the need for skilled junior officers remains. Activists also pointed out that citizens' mindsets need to change so that more women join the force and get the kind of support they require at home.

On September 15, the Borivli police handed over the probe into the rape charge against NCP leader Laxman Dhoble to a woman inspector from the Goregaon police station. The reason cited was that there was no female inspector-rank officer at the Borivli police station.

"A rape survivor's statement has to be recorded by a female officer, but what happens at times is that the entire burden of the case then falls on her shoulders. This should not happen in cases that are complicated. An experienced officer needs to be in charge of the probe in such cases. He could always train or guide a junior female officer with the procedure that needs to be followed," said advocate Flavia Agnes of the NGO, Majlis.

Majlis has been training personnel at police stations, across ranks, on the amended rape law and the law for protecting children from sexual abuse.

Nandita Shah of Akshara Centre concurred that more female officers need to be posted at police stations, but to deal with all kinds of cases and not just crimes against women.

Senior IPS officials said the department tries to post junior female officers across the city evenly, but factors such as area of experience, family and medical issues, geographical and functional factors, have to be considered. "For instance, a female officer who has served in the economic offences wing where white collar crime is reported would find it tough if she is suddenly moved to a police station whose jurisdiction is dotted with slums," said an IPS officer.

Former IPS officer-turned-lawyer YP Singh suggested that the police department could try to get junior female officers on deputation from para-military forces, home guards or make contractual appointments.

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