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Women form 10 p.c. of local police force

T. Ramavarman

THRISSUR: With the convocation of the seventh batch of women police constables from the Kerala Police Academy here, the strength of women in local police has touched the 10 per cent mark.

The seventh batch had 342 women police constables, of which 340 took part in the passing-out parade held at the Academy on Sunday.

With this, the strength of women in Kerala police has gone up to 2,546, which is more than 10 per cent of the 25,000-member contingent of Kerala local police, according to sources in the Academy.

However, the total strength of Kerala police is about 52,000, including personnel of armed battalions. So, women would constitute 10 per cent of the overall State police only if another 2,700 women were recruited to the force, sources said.

Of 2,546 women police constables in the State police, 2,196 were trained after the launch of programmes towards this end at the Kerala Police Academy in 2001.

The remaining women police constables were recruited to the force prior to that.

The representation of women is abysmally low at higher levels of the local police: Among the 1,368 Sub-Inspectors in the police, there are only 70 women officers while among the 420-odd Circle Inspectors, their number is only 21. There is only one woman among the 217 Deputy Superintendents of Police in the State. In the IPS cadre, Sreelekha and B.Sandhya were the two women police officers in the State till recently.

Now Harshitha Ataluri from Andhra Pradesh is also undergoing training at the Academy prior to her joining Kerala police.

The sources said the commitment to raise the strength of women in Kerala police to 10 per cent was first made by the Government through the Governor's Address to the State Assembly in 1996.

Even though successive Governments had set different deadlines for achieving this, the strength of women constables in local police has touched 10 per cent only now.

Replying to questions, sources conceded that the Government had not announced any plan to raise the strength of women in the overall State police force to 10, which is vital considering the increase in incidents of atrocities on women. This may not be taken up unless there is pressure from society as a whole, they said.

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