Vacancies in police forces at 24%

Police forces in the country added 10,565 personnel to its work force in 2016 compared to the previous year but vacancies continued to be on the rise, a latest government report showed.

The vacancies, especially in the Constabulary that accounts for 67.16% vacant posts, have left the forces in a situation where there is only 180 personnel for a lakh population, when the standard set by United Nations is way above at 220 police per lakh population.

The latest ‘Data on Police Organisation’ released recently showed that there are 5.49 lakh vacancies as on January 1, 2016 in police forces across the country at a time there were 22.80 lakh sanctioned positions. There are 17.31 lakh personnel as against 17.21 lakh personnel as on January 2015 and 17.22 lakh on January 2014.

An analysis of yearly reports prepared by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) showed that there was an increase of 7,039 vacant posts in 2015 and 2016.


As on Jan 1, 2016

As on Jan 1, 2015

As on Jan 1, 2014

As on Jan 1, 2013

Sanctioned Strength

22.80 lakh

22.63 lakh

22.83 lakh

22.09 lakh

Actual Strength

17.31 lakh

17.21 lakh

17.22 lakh

16.60 lakh


5.49 lakh

5.42 lakh

5.60 lakh

5.48 lakh

* Figures rounded off/ Source: Data on Police Organisation/BPRD


Police personnel complain that they are working without a break for days and it is affecting their social life. A study sponsored by BPRD itself earlier had highlighted the plight of police which said, 75 per cent of police personnel claim they rarely manage to get a weekly off while Inspectors acknowledge that their subordinates work more than 11 hours a day.

The report showed that Uttar Pradesh continue to have the highest number of vacancies but has improved its record — while it has 1,81,958 vacancies as against 1.99 lakh earlier. The situation in Karnataka has worsened as the vacancies increased from 33,307 in 2015 to 39,276 and ranking second compared fourth in 2015.

West Bengal, which had 45,430 vacancies, has managed to bring down it to 33,630 while Bihar also had an impressive record — 29,479 vacancies as against 41,696 earlier.

Of the vacancies, the highest is in Constabulary — 3.68 lakh posts of Constables are vacant and it account for 67.16% of the total vacancies. Compared to 2015, the number of vacancies among Constables have risen by 7,111.

The vacancies in the post of Head Constables is 1.05 lakh while there are 26,007 posts vacant in the rank of Assistant Sub Inspector, 37,681 in Sub Inspector and 6,870 among Inspectors.

In the state intelligence apparatus, there are 9,486 vacancies as against 11,102 earlier. The number of sanctioned posts had however come down in 2016 by 574. The report said 90% of these vacancies are in the lower ranks between Constables and Inspectors.

There are 5,361 vacancies in Special Task Forces (STF) formed in states to fight insurgents and terrorists. While the sanctioned strength is 23,699, the actual strength is 18,338.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on Feb 14, 2017)


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