Mumbai: The Mumbai Police force continues to grapple with a manpower crunch though rape and molestation cases have risen sharply and conviction rates have fallen to an abysmal low of seven percent, according to numbers compiled by a non-governmental organisation.
Tasked with protecting a city with a population of over two crore people, the Mumbai Police remains 1,763 posts (14 per cent) short of its sanctioned strength of 41,398, according to data for the year 2012-13, released here today by the Praja Foundation.
The cumulative strength of constables in the city stands at 29,811 as against the approved number of 33,110 constables.
The strength of middle-level officers such as Assistant Police Inspectors (APIs) and Police Sub Inspectors (PSIs), who investigate cases, is also very less, the review said.
"There are only 732 APIs instead of the 1,002 sanctioned posts and 1,319 PSIs for the sanctioned 3,125 posts. PSIs and APIs are the ones who are actually trained to probe crimes.”
“With such a huge shortage of PSIs and APIs, it is little wonder that chargesheets are not being filed for lack of investigation into crimes," founder trustee of the NGO Nitai Mehta said.
"This is one of the reasons why conviction rate in 2012 was seven per cent, which is three per cent down from the previous year. This encourages criminals to carry out more offences," he claimed.
According to the data gathered through the RIT, there has been a sharp rise in crime against women, as rape cases increased by 57 percent (from 187 cases to 294) and molestation cases increased by 43 percent (from 554 to 793) during 2012-13.
Chain snatching incidents have come down to 1,269 which is 22 percent less compared to last year. Investigation is pending in a total of 6,151 serious offences such as murder, rape, kidnapping and grievous hurt among others.
As many as 40 percent of citizens call up the police helpline numbers 100 or 103, either to report a crime or ask for police assistance.
"Unfortunately, the police Control room also faces a 52 percent staff shortage. The Control room is the heart of the policing process in a city that should be adequately manned all the times," Mehta said.
South Central Mumbai residents feel more unsafe, compared to other areas, as a household survey of 25,000 respondents across the city indicated that 29 percent of them did not feel secure. The same region also reported 66 rape cases, which is twice the number of 37 cases reported last year.
Mumbai Railway premises also proved to be unsafe for women, since molestation incidents increased by 200 percent, from four incidents to 12 incidents during the 2011-12 period, while dacoities and robberies at railway premises rose sharply by 619 percent to 230 incidents.