During the last (year) enrolment of the state police, out of 57 aspirants directly recruited as IOs, 30 per cent were women, which is the highest so far for undercover agents, officials said without giving the exact number.
Those recruited include housewives, employees of corporate firms, engineers among others, chairman of recruitment board for sub-inspectors, Ashish Bhatia said.
The recruited team is trained in vigilance, information gathering and undercover operations for nine months at Karai Police Academy in the state capital by the intelligence wing of the office of Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), he said.
Assistance has also been sought from the Centre for comprehensive training of these IOs.
"There is a certain 'aura' associated with the job of an intelligence officer in addition to the fact that the work is usually for fixed working hours. Women recruited this year have preferred working as IOs rather than armed and unarmed police sub-inspectors," Bhatia, an ADGP rank officer, said.
"Also, armed sub-inspectors have odd working hours and are transferred to various police stations, which women prefer to avoid," he pointed out.
Bollywood actress Katrina Kaif had played the role of an undercover ISI agent (Zoya) in Salman Khan starrer 'Ek tha Tiger'.
Most of these women are from rural Gujarat and housewives form a major component, he mentioned.
After the July 2008 blasts in which 57 people were killed in the city, the state government had decided to directly recruit intelligence officers.
When asked about the reason for rise in people from private organisations joining the force, Bhatia said there has been a substantial rise in remunerations for those joining at PSI rank and there is service security.
"Over the years, promotions have been speeded up, and added to all this, the aura of being a police official attracts people from private firms also," he said.
Last year, 509 police sub-inspectors were recruited by the state government. Of these 119 were women, Bhatia said, adding that the number of women willing to work as IOs has increased substantially as compared to previous years.
The Home department trains recruited PSIs in three categories - armed PSIs, unarmed PSIs and IOs.
While armed PSIs are trained by the office of the armed units, unarmed PSIs undergo training in administration work by the ADGP (administration) office.
During the written examination for the recruitment process, candidates' legal knowledge was also tested following introduction of law subject for the first time, he added.