Eight police stations stretched by the scope of their jurisdiction and crippled by inadequate resources will be split into 16 to make policing on the southern fringe of Calcutta more practicable.
Sources in the state home department said the proposal to split the police stations would be placed for cabinet sanction at the next meeting on Monday.
“Sanction is unlikely to be denied. The eight stations will be split soon, taking the number of police stations under Lalbazar from 65 to 73,” a government official said on Friday.
All the police stations that are proposed to be split are in the “added areas”, where the percentage of reported crime is almost double that of the other places under Calcutta police, sources in Lalbazar said.
“The recent rise in crime in the added areas is an indication of how the police force there is struggling to curb criminal activities and other law-and-order problems. A split in jurisdiction would help in effective management of the forces,” a senior officer said.
Sources in the detective department said the majority of cases pertaining to theft, robbery and snatching were being reported in the added areas. “The main problem there is the disproportionate division of areas, forces and infrastructure,” an officer said.
Bhowanipore police station covers an area of less than 2sq km. Haridevpur police station has almost 22sq km under its jurisdiction. While the area it needs to police is more than 10 times that of Bhowanipore, the manpower at Haridevpur police station is the same.
The areas police stations cover may vary by much but the amount of fuel allotted for police vehicles at each post is the same: seven litres a day. It means a vehicle at Posta police station, which has 1sq km to cover, will be allowed to burn the same amount of fuel that Patuli is allotted to cover almost 10 times that area.
The result of disproportionate distribution of resources is scary for citizens. People in swathes of Kasba, Golf Green, Patuli and Behala rarely see a police patrol on the move.
“I don’t remember the last time I saw a police vehicle in my area at night,” said a young software professional who returns late from work to his home in Behala.
At least six burglaries and two murders have been reported in the Patuli police station area alone over the past six months. None of these cases has yet been solved. “How can you expect results with seven litres of fuel per vehicle a day?” an officer demanded.
Police commissioner Surajit Kar Purkayastha had sent the proposal to split eight police stations to the finance department earlier this year.
Sources in the secretariat said the proposal had been cleared along with the proposed recruitment of 176 sub-inspectors, 21 of them women, and 169 sergeants. These officers will be deployed in the proposed new police stations along with redistribution of the existing manpower.
This is the second time in two years that the Calcutta police map is set to undergo a change. Seventeen police stations were carved out of nine that were under Bengal police and brought under Lalbazar in September 2011.
But a section of the police is wary of the move. “The reason why the crime rate and other law-and-order problems in the added areas are on the rise is because policing infrastructure is inadequate. Although 17 police stations were created with the promise of better policing, many of them do not have the basic infrastructure. Some do not have women personnel,” a senior officer said.