Only 7 percent women officers in police force: IJR 2019

The report ranks states on various quantitative measurements of budgets, human resources, infrastructure, workload, diversity across police, judiciary, prisons and legal aid

women police
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The India Justice Report 2019 found that there is one policeman for every 858 persons in the country and 13 states have more than 10 percent women in its police force.

The report, supported by Tata Trusts, has been brought together by Centre for Social Justice, Common Cause, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, DAKSH, TISS–Prayas, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, and How India Lives

Women in police force

There has been a rise in the number of women in the police force in the sense that compared to 2019, when only 8 states and UTs had more than 10 percent women in the force, now 13 states and UTs have breached the 10 percent mark. Although the benchmark might seem low, the rise is steady and needs to be pushed further.

Each state has declared a quota for women’s reservation in the police force ranging from 10 percent to 38 percent. Bihar is the only state with the highest quota reservation for women at 38 percent. The national average for women remains a lowly 10 per cent. As per the report, between 2015 and 2019, Bihar showed the most intention to increase women’s representation in police (from 7 per cent to 25 per cent), followed by Himachal Pradesh (from 12 per cent to 19 per cent).

Despite having the highest share of women, only 6 percent of women police officials in Bihar are at the officer level and nationally this share is only 7 percent.

Police to population ratio

Nationally, the police to population ratio is 1:858 and we look at this data state-wise, it only gets worse. Bihar has the police to population ratio of 1:1548 while the lowest ratio among large and mid-size states is in Punjab at one policeman for nearly 462 persons.

A national police Commission Report of 1981 had suggested that the average area covered per rural police station should be 150 sq. km. In Rajasthan area coverage of a rural police station is 695 sq km which when compared to urban areas 35 times as urban police stations cover 20 sq km area.

In hilly/mountainous Himachal Pradesh, rural police stations serve areas 125 times larger than urban ones. In Goa, where the terrain is more level this differential is smaller—rural police stations cover about 1.5 times the area of urban ones.

Caste diversity

The report was able to gather data on caste composition in police forces, as per the reserved quota. The report found that the inclusion of scheduled castes and tribes and other backward classes was better at the constabulary level than amongst officer cadres. Per the data, Karnataka is the only state to have met both its officer and constable SC, ST and OBC quotas.


The Ministry of Home Affairs had started a SMART policing initiative called ‘Digital Police’ which laid out a model of what kind of services should be available online for easy public access. These services included Filing of complaints, obtaining the status of the complaints, obtaining the copies of FIRs, details of arrested persons/wanted criminals, details of missing/kidnapped persons, details of stolen/recovered properties, submission of requests for issue/renewal of various NOCs, verification requests for servants, employment, passport, senior citizen registrations etc., portal for sharing information and enabling citizens to download required forms.

The report states that despite the push for digitisation, no state offered the complete bouquet of services it is required to; and even with the same service, there are variations in what is provided.

Punjab and Himachal Pradesh provided 90 per cent of expected services followed closely by Chhattisgarh (88 per cent), Maharashtra (88 per cent) and Andhra Pradesh (86 per cent).

Accessibility also includes making the portal available in the regional language. The Delhi portal was only in English. For Jammu and Kashmir, there was no ready option to translate the page and for access, the site requested the user to download the Urdu script. The report states that due to these gaps, the citizen portals in their existing form are falling short of their objective of enabling easy access to select policing services.

Only 3 states, namely, West Bengal, Mizoram and Nagaland have fully utilised their police modernisation fund while Odisha utilized merely 10% and Tripura, even lower, utilised only 2 percent of this fund. The Ministry of Home Affairs’ Modernisation Scheme assists state forces to meet capital expenditure, such as the construction of new buildings and acquisition of technology and equipment.


While data on prison has already been covered by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) Prison Statistics report of 2019, the IJR 2019 covers additional areas in their report apart from overcrowding, infrastructure, classification of prisoners and so on.

About budgetary spends on prisons, IJR finds that Prisons continue to be a low priority spend for states. Per the report, Andhra Pradesh, at Rs. 2 lakhs for over 7,500 inmates in 106 prisons records the highest annual spend.

In order to make prisons from custodial to correctional institutions, correctional staff—welfare officers, psychologists, lawyers, counsellors, social workers, are required to be hired. The report states that the national average stands at one probation/welfare officer per 1,617 prisoners and one psychologist/psychiatrist for every 16,503 prisoners. The Model Prison Manual, 2016, sets the standard at one correctional officer for every 200 prisoners and one psychologist/ counsellor for every 500; only J&K, Bihar and Odisha meet this benchmark. Uttar Pradesh, despite a prison population of over 100,000, has sanctioned only two correctional officer posts. There are 9 states which have not sanctioned such posts at all.

The Model Prison Manual also mandates there be one medical officer for every 300 prisoners and one full-time doctor in central Prisons. Uttarakhand was the only state to have none of their ten sanctioned posts for medical officers filled. Punjab and Arunachal Pradesh have more medical officers than the sanctioned strength while 12 states and UTs, including Goa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, have a shortfall of 50% or more medical officers.

Among prison staff, women accounted for 13% across all levels, nationally. Uttarakhand with 3 percent and Goa at 2 percent have the lowest shares of women working in prisons.

The complete report may be read here.



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