Officials said the number of women in police forces has gone up between 2013 and 2022. (Representational)
Crime against women is on the rise in the metros and many states, but the number of women police personnel in most parts of the country is extremely low, according to data from the Ministry of Home Affairs. The figures reveal that 11.75%, or just over one in 10 police personnel, are women.
The MHA has issued at least five advisories to states and Union Territories since 2013 to increase the representation of women in the police forces to at least 33%.
The MHA figures, which are from 2022 and were tabled in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, show that nearly all states fall short of the recommended percentage. As of January 1, 2022, only 2.46 lakh of the nearly 21 lakh police personnel in the country were women.
Data from the National Crime Records Bureau states that New Delhi saw over 14,000 cases of crimes against women in 2022, but the strength of women in its police force is only 10,228 out of 92,000 personnel, which is 11.12 per cent.
Of Uttar Pradesh's sanctioned strength of 3 lakh police personnel, 33,425 - or 11.14% - are women.
At 16.45, the percentage in Maharashtra is better, but it is still less than half of the recommended figure. Of the state's sanctioned strength of 1.85 lakh police personnel, only 30,432 are women.
'Figures Have Improved'
MHA officials said that the number of women in the police forces may be low, but it has seen a marked increase in nine years. "It is a work in progress. From 2013 to 2019, the increase in employment in the police forces was insignificant but we managed to employ women in the double digits, and it will now be a steady graph," said a senior official.
According to the ministry's data, in 2013, the percentage of women police personnel was only 5.87 and the total number was 97,518. In 2022, the percentage nearly doubled to 11.75 and the number rose to 2,46,103.
"In 2014, 518 women police stations were functioning, but the number has gone up to 745 in 2022," Minister of State for Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai, informed the Lok Sabha.
The last MHA advisory, issued in 2022, read, "All state governments and Union Territory administrations are requested to create additional posts of women constables/sub-inspectors by converting the vacant posts."
"The aim was that each police station should have at least three women sub-inspectors and 10 women police constables so that a helpdesk for women has personnel present around the clock," a senior police official explained.