Tamil Nadu

‘All women station, an outdated concept’

At a meeting in New Delhi recently, women police officers from across the country voted for women in all police stations in place of All Women Police Stations.

At a meeting in New Delhi recently, women police officers from across the country voted for women in all police stations in place of All Women Police Stations.

In the early 1990s, Tamil Nadu pioneered the concept of All Women Police Station (AWPS) and established the first such station in Thousand Lights in Chennai. However, over 25 years later, the Director General of the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), Meeran C. Borwankar, feels the concept of having an exclusive police station managed entirely by women is “outdated” and has “outlived its utility”.

Special training stressed

“AWPSs have outlived their utility. Times have changed and most States have reservation for women in police. We must have women in all police stations now. They have to be given special training for investigation of crime against women,” she told The Hindu on Sunday.

Dr. Borwankar said training on basic counselling skills of women police could also help as women in distress needed emotional support initially. At a meeting in New Delhi recently, women police officers from across the country voted for women in all police stations in place of AWPSs.

She said the BPR&D had commissioned a nationwide performance audit of AWPSs and the final report was awaited. “But even the research is coming to appreciate the fact that it is in the interest of justice for women to be able to approach the nearest police station than be asked to travel a distance to reach an AWPS.”

The purpose of an AWPS was served better when there were not many women in the force. Most States are now going in for 33% reservation for women in the police department.

“The AWPS is an outdated concept now. Instead, we must encourage women to join all ranks of police so that their numbers increase. This is an aspirational India. I recently came across three girls (cousins) from a family having joined the police. They said that the family encouraged them to appear for the exam. We shall soon touch 33% reservation and would like to go beyond that too,” she added.

The DGP who recently visited a couple of AWPSs in Tamil Nadu said the officers and staff were proud that they could counsel and patch up family disputes.

Asked about allegations of AWPS at times becoming kangaroo courts or centre for out-of-court settlements, she said it was true that AWPSs were laying emphasis on counselling.

“I have not heard allegations about them acting as kangaroo courts. As regards counselling, even the Supreme Court has talked of its need. My point is that now with more women in all police stations, counselling can be done at the nearest police station instead of women in distress being asked to travel to an AWPS,” Dr. Borwankar said.

On the issue of women personnel being deployed mostly for “non-sensitive” assignments like temple/festival bandobust or as escort for under-trials, she said the bureau was exploring the possibility of giving all duties to women including leadership roles in the State/Central Armed Police Force (CAPF).

Bridging gender divide

On the lack of facilities for women in the force, Dr. Borwankar said at a national level meeting of top police officials, emphasis was laid on the gender-specific needs of women in the force.

“We sensitised them about not only uniform but even weapons including the issue of bullet-proof jackets for women,” she said.

Tamil Nadu was the pioneer in the concept of AWPS. With over 200 police stations exclusively for women, the State accounts for 40%t of the total AWPSs in the country.


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Printable version | Jun 29, 2022 2:19:43 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/all-women-station-an-outdated-concept/article19572080.ece