Despite speedy recruitment over the last two years,the Mumbai Traffic Police department faces an acute shortage of women constables. According to traffic police officers,there are at present 115 women traffic constables in the force 550 posts are yet to be filled.
The drive to induct women in the traffic police force began after Home Minister R R Patils instructions to the department to fill the 30 per cent quota for women police personnel. The dpartment started the process in 2010,when five women constables were recruited.
Vivek Phansalkar,joint commissioner of police (traffic),said they have a shortage of 150 women police officers in the traffic department but number of women traffic constables required in the force is even higher. Apart from a few who have gone on maternity leave,we have a total of 115 women constables at present. In 2010,we started with recruiting five women. In June 2011,we employed 50 more and later in the year,we recruited 60, said Phansalkar.
At present,the number of women in the department is small because of the nature of work, Phansalkar said,adding that the work conditions were tough and there were not enough applications.
The traffic police officers said a few women constables have been given a .38 pistol each like their male counterparts and are expected to perform the same duties as male constables do. The weapon has been given for their safety. The weapon would act as a deterrent for errant commuters, said a traffic police officer. Officials said they were keen on recruiting women as it would not only strengthen the department but will also go a long way in boosting the morale of other women constables.
The women constables have been trained for over a year in groups of 15,where they learnt how to deal with people while on the job with their male colleagues. They have also been trained in using various weapons. Phansalkar said the women traffic constables combat pollution,dust and rowdy drivers while manning the traffic and signals.