BENGALURU: If police personnel thought the budget would pave the way for reducing their workload at least to some extent, they are in for a disappointment.
The state budget has failed to address the shortage of staff in the department. The department always remains understaffed and the situation is set to continue in the next couple of years with the retirement of a large number of personnel.
According to data shared by the state government with the High Court in November 2016, there are 64,909 police personnel, a number which is way below the sanctioned strength of 94,478. This means there is one policeman per 830 people.
In his budget, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said 3,274 posts will be filled in a month. But the vacancy created by the retirement of police personnel is expected to be the same this year. He said, in last four years, 2,000 police officers have been promoted at different levels and 20,487 sub inspectors and constables are recruited.
However, this has not helped reduce the stress on the force as the retired police personnel outnumbered the new recruits.
Though it was one of the largest recruitments in the state’s history, the state government has failed to find a lasting solution to the staff shortage.
Former DGP S T Ramesh said, “it is the duty of state government to fill up the vacancies and they are not doing any favour. It is also important to increase the number of sanctioned posts as the proportion of police personnel to population has remained unmatched”.
The budgetary allocation to home department is `4,938 this year as against Rs 4,462 crore last time.
“This has been a very ordinary budget in regard to the Home Department... The increase of Rs 476 crore is just to tackle the inflation and it will not help police department (much),” he said.
Former DGP Garudachar said there must be a system to assess police personnel’s retirement and recruit new batches. “The delay by the governments has been a common phenomenon since independence. The state police need to have an independent system for recruitment”, he said.
In 2016, the state witnessed suicides of more than 10 police personnel including two DySPs. The state government has not tried to address the issue in the present budget. On an average 12 police personnel committed suicide in Karnataka in a year in the last one decade.
The reasons includes work stress and harassment, according to a study. The proposal to recruit counsellors for police personnel has been pending before the home department for a year.
Ramesh said, “if you reduce the working hours and stress, the other problems will be addressed automatically. For it, the recruitment of police personnel is very necessary”.