The Maharashtra police is woefully short of female cops, with a whopping 91 per cent of posts lying vacant, the answer to a query under the Right To Information (RTI) Act has revealed.
The strength of the female cops stands at 17,665, against the sanctioned strength of 2,06,922 as on December 2012, according to figures accessed by RTI activist Chetan Kothari.
The cumulative strength of female constables and police sub-inspectors is 14,403, against the sanctioned strength of 96,625.
"It's a very shocking revelation. On one hand, we talk about safety and security of women and on the other hand, there are very few police women. These vacancies must be filled up on a priority basis," Kothari said.
The Maharashtra police force has a total strength of nearly 1,80,000 and is headquartered in South Mumbai. Lawyer Abha Singh observed that the absence of female cops would deter female complaints approaching police stations confidently.
"Female complainants feel humiliated to explain their grievances at the police station before male cops. There is a need to recruit female cops at the earliest so that their presence can also be felt at stations," she said.
A police officer said that women not applying for jobs in the police force was one of the reasons for so many unfilled vacancies.
However, Singh suggested that the government should launch a special drive to encourage women to join the police force. Maharashtra Director General of Police Sanjeev Dayal was unavailable for comment.