41% of police stations across India yet to get help desks for women

New Delhi, July 07, 2022.

The police forces of India’s States and Union Territories have grown by 32% between 2010 and 2020, but the share of women is only a meagre 10.5% as against the desired 33%.Women Help Desks, envisioned as the first and single point of contact for any woman walking into a police station, still eludes 41% of the police stations across India.

The share of Scheduled Castes (SCs) has marginally increased from 12.6% in 2010 to 15.2% in 2020, but that of Scheduled Tribes (STs) has only inched up from 10.6% in 2010 to 11.7% in 2020. The Other Backward Classes (OBCs) have registered a stronger representation from 20.8% in 2010 to 28.8% in 2020.

These are some of the findings from the India Justice Report’s (IJR) analysis(see full report) of the latest Data on Police Organisations (DoPO) Report 2021, which captures data as of January, 2021. The IJR has also analysed data on police capacity from the DoPO report of 2007. The DoPO is published periodically by the Bureau of Police Research and Development, an entity of the Government of India.

“Governments at the Union, State, and Union Territory (UT) levels have accepted diversity in their police forces, both by policy and mandate. Among the 24 States and UTs, that have reservation for SCs, STs, and OBCs, only Karnataka has met its statutory reserved quotas in 2020. Among the 17 States and UTs, that have mandated 33% of their police force to comprise women, none has achieved their target”, said Ms Maja Daruwala, Chief editor of the India Justice Report.


Between 2010 and 2020, total police[1] numbers have increased by 32% growing from 15.6 lakhs to 20.7 lakhs. However, vacancies in constabulary and officer ranks have remained stagnant. In 2010, the national overall vacancy level stood at 24.3%; with officer vacancies at 24.1% and constabulary, at 27.2%. In 2020, overall vacancies are at 21.4%; with officer vacancies, at 32.2% and constabulary, at 20%.

During 2020, the first Covid-19 affected year, overall vacancies increased from 20.3% to 21.4%. While sanctioned strength of police force increased by 8,665, the actual strength reduced by 21,926.Nationally, constable vacancy has gone up from 18% in 2019 to 20%. Similarly, officer vacancy has increased from 29% in 2019 to 32% in 2020. Only 3 states — Telangana, Karnataka and Kerala — could reduce vacancies among both constabulary and officers. Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Assam are functioning with more than 1/4th of their constable and officer posts vacant.

Overall vacancies are highest in Bihar(41.8%) and lowest in Uttarakhand (6.8%). While Bihar and Maharashtra saw the sharpest rises from 33.9% to 41.8% and from 11.7% to 16.3% respectively, Telangana recorded the sharpest decline from 38% to 28%.

Share of Scheduled Castes in Police

Officers: At the officer level, in 2010, 6 states/UTs[1] managed to reach or exceed their SC quota, a decade later, in 2020, only 5 states/UTs[2] — Gujarat, Manipur, Karnataka, Goa, and Tamil Nadu — have met or exceeded their own SC quotas. 11 states/UTs managed to reduce SC officer vacancy in 2020, and in the same number of states (11) it went up. Illustratively, in Uttar Pradesh and Tripura SC officer vacancy went up from 50% to 64% and 6% to 22% respectively, it reduced in Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand from 33% to -4% and from 61% to 44%.

Constabulary: In 2010, 2 states/UTs[3] met or exceeded SC constable quota, this number has increased to 7 states[4]  in 2020. 12 states/UTs managed to reduce SC constable vacancy in 2020 but in 10 states/UTs it increased. Vacancy in Tamil Nadu and Chandigarh dropped from 34% to -15% and from 37% to 22%, respectively, it increased in Tripura and West Bengal from 7% to 22% and from 10% to 23%, respectively.

Share of Scheduled Tribes in Police

Officer ranks: In 2010, 5 states/UTs[1] filled their ST quotas. A decade later in 2021, 8 states/UTs[2] managed to reach or exceed their STquota. Vacancies in reserved positions went up in 11 states/UTs and fell in 11 states/UTs. While in Uttarakhand and Assam,thevacancy dropped from 61% to 33% and from 41% to 26%, respectively, it increased in Uttar Pradesh and Sikkim from 67% to 89%, and from 21% to 33%, respectively.

Constabulary: In 20107 states/UTs[1] filled ST quota. In 2020, 9 states/UTs[2] managed to reach or exceed their ST constable quota. Vacancies in reserved positions went up in 11 states/UTs and fell in 10 states/UTs. While in Uttarakhand and Tamil Nadu vacancy dropped from 8% to -33% and from 54% to 14%, respectively, it increased in Meghalaya and Telangana from -17% to 9% and from -7% to 14%, respectively.

Share of Other Backward Classes in Police

Officer ranks: In 2010, 3 states/UTs[3]met their OBC quotas. A decade later in 2021, 8 states/UTs[4] managed to reach or exceed their OBC officer quota. Vacancies in reserved positions went up in 9 states/UTs and fell in 13 states/UTs. While in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat vacancy dropped from 2% to -50% and from 44% to 19% respectively, it increased in Sikkim and Uttar Pradesh from 3% to 18% and from 33% to 48%, respectively.

Constabulary: In 20106 states/UTs[5] reached or exceeded OBC quota. In 2020, 14 states/UTs[6] reached or exceeded their OBC constable quota. Vacancies in reserved positions went up in 5 states/UTs and fell in 13 states/UTs. While in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat vacancy dropped from 33% to -13% and from 21% to -20% respectively, it increased in Uttarakhand and West Bengal from 8% to 16% and from 38%% to 45%, respectively.

Women in Police

The percentage of women in the police force[1] is 10.5. The aspiration is to take it to 33%. While 6 UTs[2] and 11 states[3] have a target of 33% reservation, elsewhere targets range from Bihar’s 38% to 10% in Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Tripura. 7 states/UTs[4]have no reservations. As of 2020, no single state or union territory has reached the target that they have set for themselves. Among large and mid-sized states, Tamil Nadu,at19.4%, Bihar,at17.4%, and Gujarat, at 16% have the highest share of women but they too don’t meet their reservations of 30%, 38%, and 33%, respectively. Andhra Pradesh, with 6.3% share of women, has the lowest share closely followed by Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh with 6.6% each.

Women officers: Nationally, the share of women officers[1] stands at 8.2%. In 11 states/UTs[2], the share of women at officer level is 5% or less. Kerala police has 3% women officers, and West Bengal has 4.2%. Tamil Nadu and Mizoram, both have the highest share of women officers at 20.2 %.

States where women’s share has come down

Bihar and Himachal Pradesh recorded a sharp decline in the share of women. In 2019, Bihar reported 25.3%, which dropped to 17.4%; and in Himachal Pradesh, it dropped to 13.5% in 2020 from 19.2%in 2019.

CCTV cameras: In its 2021 report, the Data on Police Organisation shows that 5,396 of the total 17,233 police stations in India do not have a single CCTV camera. Only 3 states/UTs — Odisha, Telangana &Puducherry — have at least one CCTV in all police stations. 4 state/UTs — Rajasthan, Manipur, Ladakh, Lakshadweep — have reported less than 1% police stations with CCTV Cameras. Rajasthan which has a total of 894 police stations, and is the seventh largest state by population reports only one police station with CCTV cameras. Manipur, Ladakh and Lakshadweep reported none.

Taking cognisance of abuse of power by some police personnel in December 2020, the Supreme Court directed[1] all state and union territories to ensure that CCTV cameras are installed at all police stations. The India Justice Report collective has filed RTIs to all 36 states and UTs to find out the implementation status of Supreme Court’s order.