There has been a bad buzz about Bengaluru, the centre of India’s tech industry, since the horrific start to the new year. The mass molestation on New Year’s Eve clearly indicates that the city isn’t safe for women, not anymore!
Women in Bangalore have there taken to social media sites to express their resentment. But will this make the city safe? I think not!
Recent data collected from the Bureau of Police Research and Development states that Bengaluru has a mere 606 policewomen in its jurisdiction.
How will the authorities ever prevent molestation and harassment cases in the city with this low number of women police officers to protect women?
The statistics came to light after the police research team declared the 2016 report on `Data on Police Organisations in India’, as TOI reported. According to the data, the number of policewomen in Bengaluru is way below than that of Delhi-NCR’s 6,615 and Mumbai’s 4,937 women cops.
The current state of affairs still makes us give out guidelines for women to stay safe, which we really want to see, change in the years to come – Malini Gowrishankar, Bangalore
Bengaluru has now touched about 1 crore population and yet very few policewomen are seen on the streets, a home ministry report has said.
The city also lags behind Pune, which has 1,595 women cops, but stood above Hyderabad, another IT junction with a disappointing number of just 320 women cops. Delhi and Mumbai topped the chart with 8-10 times stronger number of women cops than of the IT city.
“Of the 606 women police personnel in Bengaluru, 502 are constables. Importance has not been given to women cops in the recent years and that is the reason behind the skewed male-female ratio in the police force. Only verbal assurances have been made with regard to women’s safety in Bengaluru, and the top brass has been oblivious to the falling number of women personnel,” a former police commissioner said.
Time to learn self-protection techniques and practice real time – Shantala Bhat, Bangalore
Some statistics show how Karnataka has also failed in the national average of women participation in the police force.
- The national average of percentage of policewomen to the total strength force is 7.1, Karnataka clocked a tad lower at 6.14%.
- The state has 4,354 women in the civil police comprising 70,934 personnel.
- Karnataka has 20 women police stations, Tamil Nadu has 200.
- According to a New Indian Express report that quoted police records, 3,515 boys and 1,958 girls went missing since 2011, of whom 5,116 have been found and taken home. But 356 children, including 101 girls, seem to have simply vanished.
- The ‘New Indian Express’ also reported that Bengaluru is now the third most unsafe metro city in the country after New Delhi and Mumbai, according to data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
- In 2015, Karnataka recorded 3,971 agitations: 1,263 were communal, 285 were student protests, 361were politically triggered and the rest were related to labour and other issues.
The 2016 report was a wake up call. “Availability of adequate women in police is a possibility to reduce the vulnerability of women becoming victims of crime. If there is an overall shortage of women police personnel, then how can the country meet new challenges in form of increased crimes against women?” the report said.
Also Read: How unsafe is Bangalore for women?
When asked about the role of women personnel in handling agitations, an officer explained, “In a majority of the agitations, the policemen resort to highhanded tactics to disperse protesters, which includes women. This not only escalates violence at the spot, but sparks off an outrage on social media. The presence of women police officers eases the situation.”
I personally feel that our law enforcement is not strong -Archana Singh, Bangalore
Karnataka’s Home Minister G Parameswara, who blamed women for their ‘westernized lifestyle’ in the aftermath of the Bengaluru molestation, said, “We have issued instructions to increase the number of women in the force from the current 5% to 20%.”
Also, the police research department has recommended deployment of more women in frontline duties. “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. Unless they are assigned frontline duties, there would not be an impact on the community as a whole,” the report added.
The safety of women needs to be taken seriously and it can be achieved with a stronger women police force.
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