Mushrooming residential colonies, increasing number of industries/ offices and the resultant increase in migrant workforce, growing complexities in law and order and crime management and inadequate police strength on the other has left the city police personnel overstretched.
Spurt in crime and law and order-related problems are quite common in any urban ambience and Coimbatore is no exception to it.
The suburbs of Coimbatore witnessed a mushrooming number of residential colonies on almost all arterial roads.
In the last few years, more colonies came up in remote locations leaving a challenge for the police in patrolling these areas and in ensuring crime prevention.
Many of the police stations do not have an exclusive sanction for crime or traffic wing and by allocating the human resource evenly. Police have been managing by giving additional charge on an ad-hoc basis.
Given the population and police strength, the city is lagging far behind in police – public ratio.The city also accounted for a substantial increase in the form of migrant workforce because of the industries and floating population visiting the industries, offices, hospitals and educational institutions.
Including the standby strength i.e., police personnel in a state of readiness in Armed Reserve, the City accounted for only 2,200-odd police personnel.
Primary duties included law and order maintenance, crime prevention and detection/ recovery, traffic regulation and rule enforcement.
Crime is a challenging area in the wake of spurt in house break, chain snatching and murders besides white collar crimes and so on.
In addition to the same, deployment during unrest situations, bandobust during the visit of VIPs and VVIPs also result in draining of human resource.
The job profile involves patrolling, marching beats, deployment for law and order maintenance, escorting accused, VIP bandobust, and attending courts.
The sanctioned strength for all these police stations were fixed many years ago and are not realistic to the present day needs, say supervisory officers on conditions of anonymity.
Every police station has a vacancy of five to six personnel. Already, the sanctioned strength is being found to be inadequate and even some of them remaining vacant was only leaving the force overstretched, say officers at the field level.
Police personnel have three shifts i.e., 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 8 a.m.
In fact because of the human resouce constraints, personnel reporting for the 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. shift are now forced to come for the third shift once again from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m.
On an average, every police personnel is made to work for a minimum of 12 to 16 hours a day.
This resulted in sincerity, involvement and morale going down among the personnel especially when they are continuously overstretched, the field level officials added.
They also pointed out that available strength when compared to the sanctioned strength in Coimbatore City was far better and more comfortable when compared to other cities and districts, where the gap is very wide.
Earlier, the police had a conventional system of grading the police stations as A, B and C depending the workload.
Now, the system has been re-designed and now the classification is Heavy, Medium and Light.
As per norms, Law and Order Police stations classified as Heavy should have a manpower of 120 police personnel including one Inspector, three inspectors and other ranks, medium police stations should have a strength of 75 police personnel including one inspector, two sub-inspectors and other ranks and light police stations should have a minimum of 40 to 45 police personnel.
As per the classification, the Crime and Traffic wings the manpower will be 25 to 30 per cent lesser than what is prescribed for law and order police stations. In Coimbatore City, almost all police stations are classified as heavy but none of them have a manpower of more than 65 which is actually less than that of the number of personnel prescribed for police stations classified as medium.