Women police officers in Delhi claim they are overworked, underpaid

India on 07 August 2013
Location : Delhi, India | Source : India

The newly-appointed Delhi Police chief, B.S. Bassi, has put " women's safety" at the top of his agenda and the force is taking new measures to make the Capital secure for women. But when it comes to women working on the force, a different picture emerges.

The police is already struggling with a shortage of women personnel to work on cases of crimes against women, which are piling up, and those on the job are struggling to make a difference. While this is the ground reality, the Delhi Police, in a recent answer to a Parliament question on the working condition of women, painted a rosy picture of the situation.

A Parliament questionnaire was put up to the Delhi Police inquiring about the conditions in which policewomen work . The questions were about the working shifts of females, about providing them transport to go home after work at night and about the working conditions in a police station.

The answers the police gave were all positive. Some of the questions and answers that MAIL TODAY accessed read: "Are females in the department given leave on time? ... Are all the females in the department are given leave as per their requirement?...Are the working conditions in police stations good for females?... Do they have a separate room to stay at night in case of a night shift?"

The answers were: "The working condition in police stations is viable....Separate rooms for women have been made available in as many police stations as possible." On the question about transport back home at night, the police answered: "We take care of their travelling when they have a latenight shift. Generally, we try to put them in such shifts that they do not have to leave office very late."

When questioned, joint commissioner of police (HQ) Deepender Pathak told MAIL T ODAY, "Delhi Police does pay attention to the females in the department. They are given all the benefits of the job, equal to male employees." While this is what the Delhi Police claims, the reality is very different. Talking to women police personnel at various police station revealed that the women claim they are overworked and underpaid.

"I leave home every morning at 8 and cannot say when my day is going to end," said Rabiya (name changed), posted at Lajpat Nagar police station.

Rabiya struggles to satisfy all the female complainants who come to the police station. She does patrol duty near colleges with other male colleagues, returns to the police station and works on legal documents. "I could have managed all the work had the working conditions been better. We do not have a separate room if we are staying late for work .

Also, we do not get dropped home at odd hours. Everything has to be managed on our own," said Rabiya. Another policewoman, attached to a police station in South Delhi, said on condition of anonymity, "My chain was snatched in front of the police station. Despite registering a case, a senior officer of the department told me, 'I will get you a new chain, forget the incident.'"

A female inspector who served at the Kamla Market police station for a long time told MAIL TODAY, "Our job is anyways tough, and when the working conditions are not good it gets even tougher. I struggled day in and day out to manage my police station for a long time. Finally, when it took a toll on my health, I had to shift from there."

Females working in the department complain they do not get enough leave. "Those who have a child under 18 years of age can avail child- care leave for two years to raise the child. However females on the lower rungs of the department do not get such leave. Only IPS officers get this leave," a senior female inspector said on condition of anonymity.

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