As many as 27,740 personnel from Mumbai Polices total strength of about 46,000 were deployed in VIP security bandobast duty on one or more occasions between January 1 and February 20 this year,revealed the reply to a Right to Information application.
Pune-based activist Vihar Durves RTI application sought to know the number of policemen deployed for guarding VIPs and VVIPs every year for the past six years. The response by Mumbai Polices Protection and Security Branch shows the number has grown from 24,820 in 2008 to 27,740 in 2013 (up to February 20).
In another RTI application filed by Durve in June,the reply states that as on May 31 this year,49,170 cases of crimes against women were pending with subordinate courts across Maharashtra. The pendency has increased by close to 40 per cent from 2008 to 2012. Of the 48,969 sanctioned posts in Mumbai Police in 2012,2,930 are vacant,of which 1,853 posts are of police sub-inspectors. More than half of the total force strength is involved in VIP security at some point in time or the other. Both of these factors,coupled with low conviction rate,has led to the increase in crime against women in the city, said Durve.
An official from the home department said on an average,five per cent of the force is given VIP security in the city at any given time. In 2012,till September,3,444 VIP and VVIP individuals were provided security free of charge in Mumbai.
A major chunk of police personnel involved in security cover are deployed in bandobast for visiting VIPs. However,the state needs to re-look at those deployed on permanent bandobast and security cover of VIPs. There are so many MLAs who have five to 10 constables guarding them which is not needed. But we are politically helpless and cannot take this cover away, said the official.
Minister of State (home) Satej Patil said the 27,000 personnel are not involved in security bandobast all the time. This number is misrepresented. If a VVIP visits,the number of personnel roped in is very high. But these are limited occasions, said Patil.