Mumbai: It's a city where policemen are finding reducing support at their work place with every passing day. And with court appointments and unlimited check posts taking most of their time providing security to VIPs is just adding to the long list of woes of the understaffed Mumbai Police.
For a city, which has a population of more than a crore, its 41,914 policemen find themselves totally outnumbered.
A RTI application filed by activist Chetan Kothari to know the state of the force, has given some damning figures.
Nearly 30 per cent of the entire Mumbai police force find themselves providing protection to celebrities and VIPs resulting in Policemen being over worked and More than 900 of them losing their lives at work in the last five years.
Activists say Mumbai Police's priority has surely changed.
"VIPs use the police force like use and throw material. Even those who do not want it use it as a status symbol,ā€¯ says RTI activist, Chetan Kothari.
While there are some who have genuine security issues, for many like filmstars and cricketers it is just a window to show off their power.
The police well for once do not want to disagree.
"Unfortunately, since this is a responsibility given to us we have to give them the requisite security,ā€¯ says DGP, Maharashtra Police, Dr P S Pasricha.
With demands for police protection increasing with each passing day, life for Mumbai Police is just going to get tougher in the long run.
VIP security an added strain on Mumbai police force
As reported at ibnlive.in.com on 28 January, 2010
Mumbai: Even as Mumbai remains one of the top terror targets in the country and the need to protect public places and sensitive installations is unfulfilled because of shortage of policemen.
An RTI filed by activist Chetan Kothari reveals that hundreds of policemen in Mumbai are being deployed for private security for VIPs. This is putting additional strain on the force. Experts say this is a waste of resources.
Former Commissioner of police Julio Rebiero said, “Do they really need the security, in many cases we see that security has become only a status symbol.. most VIPs do not need police protection at all. "
What is shocking is that the VIPs who have been provided police security have not even been paying the Government the fees for the security. 22 VIPs in Mumbai owe the Government over Rs 42 lakh.
"What I have suggested to the minister is that a private force should be set up and any VIP who wants to use it should use the service and then pay for using that security,” said Julio Rebiero
Though for security reasons the names of the VIPs who get police security are not revealed, it is clear that there has been a steady increase in the number of police officers put on VIP security. VIP Security:
In the year 2007, total number of officers deployed was 328.
In the year 2008 The number went up to 360.
In the year 2009 this no went up to 457.
About three thousand constables are deployed for VIP security every year.
But police officials claim they keep taking help from other forces to counter the terror threat and shortage does not affect them.
Joint Commissioner, Mumbai Police Himanshu Roy said, "Public places are properly protected.. we have asked for SRP and other forces from outside to protect vital installations and places like railway stations, airports etc."
Officials may not want to admit it but for a force already facing a huge shortage of trained security men, VIP security has become an additional burden. The number of VIPs protected also continues to increase over the years making the problem serious.
MUMBAI: The heydays of gangsters are over but the number of filmstars, businessmen, builders, politicians and others given protection by the Mumbai police has risen by 43 % over the past three years.
The number of protected persons jumped from 253 in 2007 to 316 in 2008 and stood at 361 last year, reveal figures obtained under the Right To Information (RTI) Act.
Another striking feature is that politicians outnumber the other three chief categories of protected persons. Last year, as many as 111 politicians had police protection as compared with 51 businessmen, 49 builders and 20 film stars.
“This is surprising as most of those attacked over unfulfilled extortion demands are businessmen and builders. Politicians are seldom harmed by criminals, unless hired by rival politicians,’’ said RTI activist Chetan Kothari, who sought the information.
On an average, politicians account for 30% of all those given protection. But unlike the others, they do not have to pay for it.
The number of film stars with protection went from 14 in 2007 to 20 in 2009. The corresponding figures for businessmen increased from 33 to 51, while those for builders rose from 34 to 49 in these three years which saw mobsters on the run. In fact, the police observed that several gangsters had reverted to robbery.
As many as 557 police personnel—enough to staff an entire police station—are deployed for protection, reveal the latest figures. According to the protection branch, 22 of those provided security had not paid the dues, which
collectively amounted to Rs 42.5 lakh.
This, despite the fact that the police rates for protection are a fraction of those charged by private agencies. For instance, a police constable comes as cheap as Rs 400 for an eight-hour shift, while a sub-inspector costs Rs 700.
There are three ranks between the two and the average comes to Rs 650 per eight-hour shift. Going by this, the cost of providing 557 personnel (to protect 361 persons) would amount to Rs 2.35 lakh for an eight-hour shift.
Kothari had also asked for the number of VVIPs who had visited Mumbai over the past three years and the number of policemen used to give security cover for them. The total number of VVIP visits from 2007 to 2009 were 55 and more than 7,200 policemen were deployed for their security. Some of these men were used for lesser persons such as VIPs, ‘distinguished foreigners’ and those enjoying X, Y, Z and Z+ security cover.
According to the protection branch, around 20 officers and 80 men are detailed for protecting a VVIP, whereas a VIP merits 10 and 30 respectively. Those in the Z+ category get four officers and 20 men while ‘distinguished foreigners’ get two officers and four men.