Law and Order, Crime reduction have always been some of the important election issues in states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar etc. But with huge vacancies in their ranks, it remains to be seen whether the police force will be able to control crime in states like UP just because there is a change in government.
As per the data shared by the government in the Lok Sabha, there are 5.5 lakh vacancies in the police force across the country as of 1 December 2016. Against a sanctioned strength of 22.8 lakh, there are only 17.3 lakh personnel actually working taking the vacancy rate to 24 percent.
Uttar Pradesh has 50 Percent Vacancies in its Police Force
Of all the States and Union Territories, Uttar Pradesh is at the top when it comes to percentage of vacancies. Against a sanctioned strength of 3.63 lakh in UP, only 1.81 are currently working and there are 1.82 lakh vacancies. Uttar Pradesh alone accounts for more than 30 percent of all the vacancies in the country.
Four more states of Karnataka, West Bengal, Gujarat and Haryana have more than 30 percent vacancies. Overall, 10 States/UTs have a greater percentage of vacancies compared to the national average. States like Telangana have recently recruited a substantial number of police personnel and their vacancy percentage will see a reduction.
Big states/UTs like Maharashtra and Delhi have less than 10 percent vacancies in their ranks. The NCRB data for crimes across the country more or less correlates with the police strength in a state. Crime rate in states with high vacancy percentage is higher than those with a low vacancy percentage.
UP, Bihar and West Bengal Have Less Than 100 Serving Policemen for 1 Lakh People
If the actual number of serving policemen is considered, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal have less than 100 serving policemen for 1 lakh people. West Bengal has only 74, Bihar has only 90 and Uttar Pradesh has only 91 serving policemen for 1 lakh people.
The national average of serving policemen for 1 lakh people stands at 143. Of the big states/UTs, only Delhi (456) has more than 250 serving policemen for 1 lakh people because it is the national capital and a large number of policemen are deployed in security of VIPs.
There are also stark variations in the number of sanctioned policemen for 1 lakh people across states. A state like Punjab has 285 sanctioned strength for 1 lakh people while a state like West Bengal has only 111.
IPS Vacancies at 19 Percent
As of 1 January, 2016 there are more than 900 vacancies in the IPS against a sanctioned strength of 4802, taking the vacancy percentage to 19 percent. Odisha has the highest vacancy percentage of IPS officers at 42 percent followed by J&K at 38 percent. Five states have more than 30 percent IPS vacancies. Thirteen other states have more than 20 percent IPS vacancies.
(This story was first published in Factly.)