Wanted: More 'penn police' in Kerala's police force

Of the 49,437 personnel in the Kerala Police, only 6.11%, are women.
Wanted: More 'penn police' in Kerala's police force
Wanted: More 'penn police' in Kerala's police force
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On Friday, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan flagged off the state’s second Pink Patrol team in Kochi, promising that the government also intended to increase the strength of women in the police force up to 15%. While it is a welcome move, the Chief Minister’s statement is also an indirect admission that the numbers of women in the force are abysmal. 

According to data available with the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BRPD), as of January 1, 2015, just 6.44% of the 17,21,101 civil and armed police personnel in India, are women. 

The numbers are similar in Kerala. Of the 49,437 personnel in the Kerala Police in 14 districts, only 6.11%, are women. 

Unsurprisingly, the bulk of these are in the constabulary. Of the 3,023 women police officers in the state, 89.3% (2,699) are police constables, 185 are head constables. 

Among the lower level officers, 109 women are Sub-Inspectors, and 24 are Inspectors. 

In the higher ranks, the figures are in the single digits. There are just three officers of SP/AIGP/SSP/COM rank, two of DGP/ADGP/Spl DGP rank and one of DySP/Asst.COM, ASP rank. 

Kerala does not have women police officers of IGP, DIG, Additional Sp/ Deputy Commissioner and ASI rank.  

Where does Kerala stand vis-e-vis other states?

(Courtesy: Bureau of Police Reasearch and Development)

Although Kerala fares well in comparison to states like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, many states including Chandigarh, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra have nearly double the strength as compared to Kerala. 

Chandigarh (a union territory) has the highest number of women in its police force, but even that stands at a dismal 16.99%. Tamil Nadu comes second with 12.63%, followed by the Andaman and Nicobar Islands with 11.99%. 

Women police stations 

While Kerala has done fairly well in terms of overall numbers, the state has a poor record in terms of the number of women police stations. Of the 535 all-women police stations in the country, Tamil Nadu tops the list with 199, followed by Uttar Pradesh with 71 and, Bihar and Rajasthan with 40 women police stations.  

Kerala ranks among bottom 10 states and union territories with just five women police stations located in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Kozhikode, Thrissur and Alappuzha districts. 

The others who fare worse than Kerala are Goa (1), Assam (1), Arunachal Pradesh (1), Jammu & Kashmir (2), Uttarakhand (2), Haryana (2), Himachal Pradesh (3), Tripura (4) and Chattisgarh (4). 

How long to improve the numbers?

Thiruvananthapuram Police Commissioner G Sparjan Kumar says the Chief Minister’s target of 15% will take a few years to achieve. 

“I wouldn’t say we are at the top when it comes to women representation in the force, but we are doing fairly better in comparison to other states. However, the government has decided to increase it in the years to come. There are always examples like Tamil Nadu to look up to,” Sparjan said. 

The BPRD report makes out a case for the overall increase in the number of women in the force, by linking it with its impact on the society at large. 

“It is essential that women are visible at the cutting edge level of public interface. There is a tendency to engage women police only in situations like security checks and other specialized duties relating to women, but unless they are assigned frontline duties in the police stations, there would not be an impact on the community as a whole,” the report says.

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