New Delhi: VIP security and not law and order seems to be the top-most priority for most state governments as nearly double the alloted number of policemen have been deployed to guard 16,788 prominent people across the country.
According to a Home Ministry report, these 16,788 VIPs, mostly ministers, MPs, MLAs, judges and bureaucrats, were guarded by 50,059 policemen in 25 states and Union Territories in 2010 for six months or more.
Interestingly, only 28,298 police personnel were actually sanctioned to be deployed for protection to these VIPs in that year.
The story was worse in 2009 when more than double than the actual alloted strength of policemen were deployed to provide security to 17,451 VIPs across the country.
The alloted strength of policemen for VIP security in that year was 23,637 but actually 47,355 police personnel were deployed to protect these prominent people.
During 2010, the maximum of 3,030 VIPs were given protection in Bihar followed by 1,685 in Punjab and 1,640 in West Bengal.
For protection of VIPs, Punjab deployed the maximum of 5,410 police personnel followed by 5,001 security men by National Capital Territory Delhi and 3,958 by Andhra Pradesh in 2010.
The report, released by Home Minister P Chidambaram on Friday, said manpower for protected persons` protection duty is drawn from available resources generally without corresponding increase in sanctioned strength for the purpose.
"The increase in the protected persons` protection deployment has strained the already limited manpower resources of state police.
"Therefore, there is a need for periodic review of the deployment of police for protected persons` protection against need based assessment coupled with proportionate increase in the sanctioned and professionally trained manpower commensurate to the bona fide protected persons` protection requirements," the report said.
The report, prepared by Bureau of Police Research and Development, said as on January 1, 2011, the actual strength of the police personnel for per lakh population was 131.39 against the sanctioned posts of 173.51.
The total police-population ratio (total sanctioned number of police personnel available for per lakh population) has shown wide variations across the country.
The most populous states have relatively much less sanctioned strength of police men than warranted by their total population.
West Bengal has just 81 police personnel for per lakh population, followed by 88 personnel in Bihar, 115 in Madhya Pradesh and 118 in Rajasthan against the national average of 174 policemen for per lakh population.
Sparsely populated states like Tripura has 1,124 police men for per lakh population, 1,147 personnel in Manipur and 1,112 in Mizoram.