Despite growing cases of crime against women, States have failed to open women police stations. As per latest government data, 13 States and union territories, including Delhi, have no women police stations.
According to the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) data, there were just 442 women police stations across India as on January 1, 2011. Tamil Nadu had the maximum number of 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 (2).
“There are 13 States and union territories that are still to open women police stations. The Centre has been repeatedly telling these States to open women police stations to ensure better safety and security of women but to no avail,” said a senior Home Ministry official.
Ironically, in Delhi, where two cases of rape or eve-teasing are reported every day, there is not a single women police station.
Efforts by the then Delhi Police Commissioner, R.S. Gupta, to convert the Maurice Nagar police station (near Delhi University) into an all-women one in 2004 were jettisoned by his own colleagues.
“The idea was to provide better security to women and girls on the North Campus, but internal differences among top cops led to shelving of the ambitious project ... It could have paved way for more such women-centric initiatives,” said a senior officer of the Delhi Police.
The ratio of men-women police personnel is also dismal. In Delhi, out of 82,000 personnel, women comprise just 5,200. However, women rights activists feel that instead of opening women police stations, States should focus on setting up a women’s cell or desk at each station so that more and more women can go there freely and report crimes against them.
“We have been demanding that there should be women cops at each police station who are trained to address the problems of women. A women’s desk will help in checking crime against women. We also need to have more women cops recruited and trained to address women’s issues,” CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat told The Hindu.
Pointing out that today women personnel comprise a dismal 3-4 per cent of the total police force in India that stands at around 16 lakh, Ms. Karat said the governments needed to change their recruitment policy. “Today, women are being taken into the police force just to tackle women protesters ... there is no focus on improving policing. Things would not change until our police force remains men-dominated and where women fear to approach police stations to report crimes against them. A complete overhaul of the police system is the need of the hour,” she asserted.