Number of Women in Police Force Rises, but Falls Well Short of Mandated 33% Target: Govt Data

The low representation of women is particularly glaring in the country's top premier investigation agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation and the National Investigation Agency.

New Delhi: Although the number of women in the police force across the country went up by 16.5% in the year preceding January 1, 2020, the representation of women in the force remained abysmally low at 10.3% of the overall police personnel. This is way behind the mandated 33% target set by the Centre.

These figures are from the Data on Police Organizations, 2020, released on Wednesday, December 30, by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD). The available data is calculated until January 1, 2020.

Of the total 20,91,488 personnel in the police force, the strength of women is 215,504, constituting 10.3% of the uniformed service.

The number of women officials in the central armed police force, widely known as the paramilitary force, is 29,249, accounting for just 2.98% of the total number of 9,82,391 personnel.

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It has clearly emerged from the data that the top investigating agencies of the country, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the National Investigation Agency (NIA), have a dismal representation of women, indicating the presence of a strong glass ceiling in the country’s premier security agencies.

While the NIA has just 37 women officials in its fold, constituting 4.64% of the total strength of 796, CBI has 475 women officers in various wings, which is 7.96% of 5,964 personnel as of January 1, 2020.

Citing earlier reports of BPRD data, the Deccan Herald observed that there is an inclination towards engaging women police only in situations such as security checks and other specialised duties concerning women. It further noted unless women are assigned “mainstream roles” in the police stations, there would not be much of an impact in the representation of women in the force.

“Senior women police officials had also earlier said in a survey in 2014 that they were given less important posts just because they are women,” the Deccan Herald quoted women police officials as saying.

On the other hand, the number of Scheduled Caste (SC) police officials stands at 3.01 lakh, occupying ranks in the range of constable to deputy superintendent of police, in the state police forces. The figures for Schedule Tribe (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC) police officials are 2.42 lakh and 5.19 lakh, respectively.

Meanwhile, the data states that West Bengal, Punjab, Bihar, and Jammu and Kashmir have the maximum numbers of people getting police protection, while the all-India figure reduced by nearly 9% in 2019.