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New police stations in Delhi short of men, weapons

By Sahil Makkar, IANS,

New Delhi : The 40 new police stations opened in the capital following the Mumbai terror attack are functioning with half their allotted strength — and fewer weapons.

The home ministry sanctioned two police districts, 11 sub-divisions and 40 police stations in 2008 and 2009 in the city.

The first of the sanctioned police stations opened only after the Mumbai terror attack in which Pakistani terrorists slaughtered over 160 people in November last year. In the process, the number of police stations in Delhi has shot up from 116 in September 2008 to 155 now — the most among all Indian cities.

Besides, Delhi Police have 14 non-jurisdictional and specialized police stations at the railway stations, Metro, the Indira Gandhi International airport, Crime Branch, Economic Offences Wing, Crime Against Women and Special Cell.

According to the sources, most new police stations are working with half their strength and fewer weapons.

Because of shortage of men, the new police stations have been given only 50 personnel. The usual strength is 100-125 people depending upon the area and population under the jurisdiction of a police station.

Also, only one weapon is sanctioned now for every policemen at a police station.

“Around 50 men are given to each new police station because of the shortage of personnel,” a police officer told IANS. “And most of these men were drawn after diluting two of the reserve battalions of the Delhi Armed Police.

“The sanction to raise more men came only one year ago. In the past, we ourselves raised an entire police district by pooling in all the existing resources with us for better policing.”

While inaugurating 22 new police stations Wednesday, Home Minister P. Chidambaram had stated that policemen should be walking on every street. “Senior citizens and students must be safe – even lovers in parks must be safe.”

With the newly created police stations, Delhi Police aim at a paradigm shift in policing the national capital.

The priorities, Delhi Police Commissioner Y.S. Dadwal told IANS, should cover better handling of complaints and criminal intelligence, improvement in the quality of investigation, good preventive measures and crime control, effective surveillance and improvement in detection rates.

Asked about the shortage of men, Dadwal said this gap would be bridged before the start of the Commonwealth Games Delhi will host in October 2010. Over 8,000 athletes and officials are expected to take part in the mega event.

“Over 6,000 constables would soon be joining the force as they are about to pass out. We have already started recruitment and interview process for the next batch of constables,” Dadwal told IANS.

A Delhi Police official said over 550 sub-inspectors would soon pass out from the Police Training school.

“We have planned to induct the third batch of constables even before they complete their training. This would be done to bridge all the shortage before the games,” the officer added.

(Sahil Makkar can be contacted at [email protected])