New Delhi: Rising crime in the country gets extensive coverage, but what gets overlooked is the state of police forces, who have to cope without even basic infrastructure to fulfill their duties.
Many police stations lack vehicles, phones and wireless. There are 188 police stations without a single vehicle, 402 lack telephone lines, 134 don’t have wireless sets and there are 65 which neither have a telephone line nor wireless sets, as per data compiled by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D). There are 15,555 police stations in the country.
Manipur has 43 police stations without phones or wireless sets, the maximum for any state, while Chhattisgarh has 161 police stations without vehicles.
Madhya Pradesh has 111 police stations without any telephone line, followed by Meghalaya and Manipur at 67 police stations each. Uttar Pradesh also has 51 police stations without a telephone line and 17 without wireless.
Of the total number of police stations in India, 10,014 are rural and 5,025 urban. The rest are railway police stations. BPRD figures reveal there are only 10.13 vehicles for 100 policemen at the national level, with 1,75,358 vehicles in all available for law enforcement. Maharashtra has the maximum number of vehicles (17,131), followed by Tamil Nadu (15,926) and UP (13,452). Home ministry officials admit that insurgency-struck Manipur has police stations with inadequate facilities in remote areas which are an urgent reminder that the Centre and the states should work to create infrastructure.
“In the case of Chhattisgarh and MP, most police stations are in Maoist-affected areas where wireless sets or vehicles are often snatched by Naxalites. This cannot be an excuse as police need at least phones, vehicles and wireless sets for communication and mobility,” said an official.
As on January 2016, there were 22,80,691 police officers across all states and Union territories. In a reflection of how successive administrations failed to provide housing to police personnel, only 5,56,539 cops have family quarters.
The problem doesn’t end with the lack of facilities. Most police officers are overworked. According to the data, there is only one cop for every 729 people, despite multiple challenges, such as cyber crime and the significant threats of terrorism, communal violence and Naxalism.
The problem is particularly acute in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Dadar & Nagar Haveli and Delhi where there is one policeman for 1,100 people.
Senior officers say the central paramilitary forces are better off than the civil police in terms of facilities and daily routines if the diversity of workload is compared.