Next time you hear of a murder not probed or a rapist not punished in Ranchi, blame it on the state capital’s “weak policing spine”.
Sub-inspectors (SIs), considered the backbone of the force, are too few and too taxed to curb the sprinting crime graph in the city. Official statistics reveal that against a sanctioned strength of 267, Ranchi has just 143 SIs, a little more than half — around 53 per cent — of the needed number.
And, besides taking care of law and order, they are also required to escort the state’s motley group of politicians and VIPs, not to mention the security protocol preceding any visit from the Centre.
In a nutshell, the figure 143 means too few men for too many tasks.
“Sub-inspectors are like the spinal column of policing. If their number is inadequate, both vigil and investigations will naturally take a beating. We are overworked and lead a stressful life. We end up misbehaving with colleagues and juniors. If something is not done soon to boost our numbers, safety and security of citizens cannot be guaranteed,” an SI said, on the condition of anonymity.
His colleagues could not agree more.
“Ministers promise law and order, but they do nothing to fill up vacancies in the force. Dearth of sub-inspectors is hampering legal formalities such as execution of warrants, production of witnesses in court and submission of charge sheets on time. And, lawbreakers are benefiting. Recently, all the accused in Hatia DSP (U.C. Jha) murder case were acquitted because police failed to produce witnesses on time,” said another SI.
Ranchi SSP Saket Kumar Singh admitted the crunch. In fact, he said, not just sub-inspectors, there was also an acute crisis of assistant sub-inspectors (ASIs), DSPs and SPs in the district. “There is a shortage of 41 ASIs, their sanctioned strength being 305; there are four DSPs instead of eight; and just one SP instead of three,” he said, adding that the state police headquarters had been made aware of the situation.
Secretary of Jharkhand Police Association Kamal Kishore expressed concern, saying that the youngest SIs were from the 1994 batch.
DIG (personnel) Shambhu Thakur admitted that there was manpower shortage, but insisted that efforts were on to fill up vacancies. He, however, expressed his inability to commit on a deadline.
An official in his department offered a ray of hope. “As many as 1,411 posts of sub-inspectors are vacant across the state. To fill in the gap, a batch of 276 sub-inspectors was recruited in February last year. It is undergoing training. After a year-long session at the Police Training Centre in Hazaribagh, the batch is now taking on-field training. In two years, the crunch should end. For the rest of the state, 366 ASIs will be promoted and 769 SIs will be directly recruited,” he said.
Do you feel safe in your city?