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Women Police Stations, a worldly perspective

Pakistan on 01 July 2013
Location : Pakistan | Source : The Frontier Post

Women in Pakistan consist of 51% of the entire population, but they are having very little contribution towards the economy of Pakistan. The 51% women in Pakistan are only having a minimal sharing of 1% in the police department. The world is moving towards the era of globalization and progress. Lots of innovative fields are rising speedily, and it is significant that we must accommodate our women in those fields. The old trends must be set aside and we must set out for fresh avenues of development and success.

The idea of women policing is gaining position throughout the world, and numerous countries are making serious efforts to mainstream women in policing. When we talk about the role of women policing in a society, then it’s also significant that the availability of women police stations must also be kept under consideration. 

Both man and woman are the component of police department, and it is essential that both of them must work autonomously without any hurdles. Generally it is seen that women are shifted to the male police stations, in order to carry on their job. But this is not the accurate way, as women must be given a level playing field where they can make use of their capability and work in accordance to them. 

Women working in the male police stations are having lots of problems, so it is significant that they must be allocated separate police stations.  The nature of problems that a women face in our society, can be easily dealt when we will have separate women police stations.  It is a natural fact that women are in a good position to recognize the problems and issues of other women as compared to man, so the concept of women police stations helps the marginalized women of the society and brings their problems to limelight. Numerous countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Ghana, India, Kosovo, Liberia, Nicaragua, Peru, Philippines, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uganda and Uruguay have set up women’s units or police stations at a local level. 

The establishment of specialized women’s police stations or units in police stations was first introduced in 1985 in Brazil, and has been particularly popular in Latin America, with 475 such stations in Brazil. Since the first women’s police station (WPS) opened in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1985, their numbers have grown considerably, with 475 WPS in Brazil, 34 in Ecuador, 59 in Nicaragua, and 27 in Peru by 2010, among several others in Latin America. 

Their rationale is to offer specialized services to women survivors of domestic and/or sexual violence. Women’s police stations may vary in terms of their defined legal and institutional authorization.  For example, in Brazil, Nicaragua and Peru, the stations are police units, whereas in Ecuador, the stations form part of the justice administration system in the executive branch of the state.  In Ecuador, Sierra Leone and Peru, in line with legislation, the stations are authorized to respond to domestic violence only. In other countries, such as Argentina, Brazil and Nicaragua, the stations also handle complaints of violence committed by people other than spouses.  In the case of Nicaragua, the law on family violence only includes physical and psychological violence, but the mandate of the stations covers sexual violence in any context (i.e. sexual violence crimes under the penal code). 

In Brazil, the mandates differ broadly, but most frequently the stations tackle family violence, predominantly physical violence, threats, as well as sexual violence.  The stations are frequently staffed by specially trained female staff and intend to perk up the aptitude of the police to answer to the exclusive needs of women survivors. Specialized units usually offer enhanced reporting facilities; support to the victims in matters such as medical care, counseling and financial help; and help survivors to start lawful action. They frequently also play a role in raising wakefulness about women’s rights and women’s safety needs inside the community. 

A lot of these initiatives have been positively received by women, as they are commonly viewed as being approachable and accommodating to survivors. Indications of encouraging results include increase in reporting and convictions and expanding survivors’ access to services (e.g. counseling, legal backing and further social and economic supports).
India has set up women’s units or police stations at a local level. 

The world’s first women police station was opened in India in 1973. According to the Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR&D) data, there were 442 women police stations across India as on January 1, 2011.  Tamil Nadu had the highest number of women police stations (196) followed by Uttar Pradesh (71), Andhra Pradesh (32), Gujarat (31), Rajasthan (24), Jharkhand (22), Madhya Pradesh (9), Punjab (5), Chhattisgarh (4) and Haryana. In Bangladesh Model Thanas have been established in urban and rural locations to reveal how pro-people policing can profit the community and make sure their needs and expectations can be met. Employees of these model Thanas will be gender inclusive and trained to improve skill levels and organize them to execute a more pro-people policing approach in their actions with the local community. 

These model thanas are working on the patterns of Women Police Stations (WPS) so that they can support the women victims. In Pakistan, the beginning of women policing can be traced to the 1970s. In the Police Act 1861 and Police Rules 1934 there is no indication to women policing. However the Police Order 2002 recognizes the need and significance of women policing. Pakistan’s first women police station was inaugurated by late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in Islamabad on January 25, 1994. 
There are 1,544 police stations in the four provinces whereas there are 12 women’s police stations in the country, together with three in Punjab, six in Sindh, two in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and one in Islamabad. Most women’s police stations merely operate as holding or detention areas. 

The 4,000 women police personnel in the country constitute less than one per cent of the total police strength. The experience of Women Police Stations (WPS) in Latin America and South Asia has revealed that, the WPS continue to be one of the most significant entry points for accessing the justice system and specialized services in general.

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