Only six per cent of the police force in Assam is women. Women find it difficult to seek timely justice from male-dominated police stations.
Guwahati: The data released by Bureau of Police Research and Development showed that the female police officers in Assam comprise only six per cent of the force. This is even lower than the country average of eight per cent. It is a cause for concern as police stations filled with only male police officers become uncomfortable places for women.
“Whenever girls and women visit police stations to report about their problems such as stalking, abuse, online harassment etc., the officers don’t pay any attention and show themselves busy in other ‘important work’,” said Prritima Medhi, a 22-year-old student from Guwahati.
However, senior officers like Rosie Kalita (DCP of Guwahati Crime Branch) felt that there has been a significant rise in the number of female officers at all ranks, mainly because of the reservation system for women introduced in 2010. This has made police stations more welcoming towards women. She said, “Today, each police station in Assam has at least one lady constable or homeguard, unlike the earlier days. Whenever we need to arrest a woman or bring in a female victim, our officers are always accompanied by female constables and, if possible, a female sub-inspector too. Moreover, we recommend female officers to handle women-related cases.”
But they also realise the need to increase the number of female officers in the force, especially when the number of cases of violence against women is rising daily. “Whenever there is a woman police officer in the station, women find it easier to talk about things that they otherwise find uncomfortable to talk to a male officer. Also, they are more compassionate than men.”
Despite the differences of opinion, there is a general consensus among the public and the police alike that more women officers should be present to help women reach out to police and get justice on time.