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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

Bhubaneswar: How can the aam aadmi feel safe on Odisha’s roads? When around 85,000 - 90,000 new criminals (as per Police records, 2018 saw arrest of 85-90K first time offenders) joined the State's crime world last year,  there were around 39,715 policemen only, including District Armed Reserve Force (DARF) on duty. But the DARF is not supposed to maintain daily law and order problems.

No  wonder, criminals feel emboldened as the State registered around 229 IPC crimes per lakh population in 2018 vis-a-vis 172 IPC crimes per one lakh population in 2015.

The data available with the State police looks quite shocking as it shows serial criminals (in police lexicon offender arrested more than once) were merely around three per cent of total arrests made in 2018.

This implies that State's crime rate has been kept high by these first time offenders. And this is a reflection on the policing standards in Odisha. There seems the fear of law is not weighing heavy in minds of anti-socials/criminals here.

Now consider the data provided by  MoS Home, Dibya Shankar Mishra. When the sanctioned strength of police in Odisha stood at 73,424, the actual strength has been 65,106. The reason is State is saddled with around 8,318 vacancies.

This throws some interesting stats. For around 752 aam admi, there is only one constable to guard. More shocking is the State has only 23 policemen to cover every 100 square km area.

Ironically, the State police neither has teeth strength to bite nor the long tail to tighten the noose around the anti-socials.

As per the data placed in Assembly, while the Group A (SP/DSP rank and above) vacancies are 487, the vacancies in Group B (Circle/Inspector in-charge rank) are 2,050 and Group C (ASI to constable rank) vacancies at 5,782.

This shows the State is presently grappling with vacancies of over 2,500 from the rank of ASI and above (the teeth as per police terminology) and the tail (constabulary) is short by over 1,500 personnel. A data analysis put the teeth to tail ratio at 1: 3.3 in Odisha against the national ratio of 1:6.

However, as per Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) report, Odisha’s  around 203 urban police stations need a whopping over 15, 600 policemen and the rural police stations need around 16,000 personnel. BPRD has assessed the data taking the crime load and requirement of police to bring the crime rate down in the state.

In reality, Odisha needs 23,000 more policemen to make the common man feel safe on roads. After all, Delhi has 4,500 policemen per 100 sq km vis-a-vis Odisha's 23 per 100 sq km.


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