GUWAHATI: The police-public ratio in the State is 1:482 (one police personnel for the security of 482 people). The police-VIP ratio, on the contrary, is nearly 4:1 (nearly four personnel are engaged for the security of one VIP). The system is heavily lopsided towards the latter!
This is what the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) has found in its study, and reported it to the Central government.
The BPRD report says that in 2018, the State had 1,323 VIPs with an approved deployment of 1,500 security personnel for their security. However, the State government deployed as many as 4,153 personnel against 1,323 VIPs, raising the police-VIP security ratio to 3:1.
In 2019, the State had 1,119 VIPs for whom 4,046 personnel were deployed, against the approval of 1,500 personnel. This further raised the police-VIP ratio to 4:1, said the BPRD report.
Security cover given to a person, VIP or otherwise, is based on threat perception that is reviewed yearly. However, there are so-called VIPs as well who consider security cover as their status symbol. And the crux of the problem lies there. This apart, political interference in the deployment of security personnel also worsens the situation.
Who gets the security cover? According to sources, Ministers and MLAs are the ones who get the security cover according to protocols. There are others like a section of political honchos, businessmen and retired bureaucrats needing the security cover. When it comes to threat perception, an IAS or IPS officer retiring some five-ten years back has little security threat. Yet such officers enjoy adequate security cover. When there is any move to minimize their security cover, they lodge complaints.
According to sources, the problem of VIP security with the approved strength of security personnel arises when security cover is given to chairpersons of corporations and boards as well. To cap it all, in the recent past the government created the post of vice chairpersons for corporations and boards. Since such vice chairpersons also get security cover, the problem has become more acute now.
According to another study report, most of the police constables in the State are middle-aged ones who have been put on duty that demands extra duty hours. Such a problem has been created in the State as constables hardly get promotions in their service careers.
Policing at the district level is aggravated by 30-50 per cent political interference like forcing police stations to release people under detention etc.
The report further said that there should be a mechanism to make a police official accountable for illegal detention of a person. The public support to the police in checking crimes by sharing information about the accused is also very poor in the State, which is just 6-7 per cent.