Gender imbalance management in Jharkhand’s police stations

Ranchi: The district police on Thursday got 32 policewomen as ‘munshi’ (police clerks) to serve in city’s police stations where the gender inequality of society exists in the most extreme form. Likely to be more sensitive to victims and less corrupt in conduct the policewomen are expected to transform the police-victim relations, improve the quality of response and empower women visitors who feel marginalized in a male-dominated police station.

Ranchi SSP Kuldeep Dwivedi said 32 policewomen were deployed at Kotwali, Doranda and Lalpur police stations in three separate batches for training. “They would be posted in 16 town police stations after week-long on campus training during which they are expected to pick up skill-set of a trained and efficient munshi,” Dwivedi said.

In their 30s the policewomen were handpicked and trained at the police line by experts from police training college besides senior police officers including DIG Ranchi R K Dhan. “During on campus training the policewomen will apply the theories of FIR, handling case dairies and critical documentation and application of basic criminal laws they learnt at the police line,” said DSP Sadar Vikas Chandra Srivastava.
Across Jharkhand well-connected male constables have occupied the posts of ‘munshi’ — some without transfers for years — and allegedly made the posts synonymous with corruption. In all levels of police circles munshis’ corrupt conduct is common knowledge but lack of enough evidence saves them.

“Dealing with victims they tend to insensitive, policewomen would change this culture,” said a police officer.

Initially the policewomen munshi would work alongside their male colleagues, DSP Srivasava said, with the aim to take the charge. Women as munshi would also guard against harassment of complaints at police stations.

For passport, job police verification, mobile and documents lost and other reasons the number of women complainants visiting police stations is growing and in case of status quo the police stations would get a bad publicity, said Kamal Kishore former general secretary of Jharkhand Police Association.

“A victim of sexual harassment can report her case in detail with least inhibitions when the munshi is female, so will a victim of domestic violence,” Kishore said.

A female IPS officer who does not want to be quoted said women would spend more time at work since most of them do not frequently go out for smoke, tobacco or gutkha like their male counterparts (in the police station). “Women munshis would check cops inclination to use abuses in conversations. The male cops will properly dress. The women munshis will also tend to drive sanitation at the police stations,” she said.

Jharkhand has many women IPS officers but they float at the top and fail to inspire sensitivity and respect towards women victims at the lower formations of policing. The situation forced the state police to reserve 33% seats for women in all recruitment. Currently women make only around 5% of 70,000 state police personnel.
SSP Dwivedi said the basic idea is to uphold the principle for which Jharkhand police stand and make police a better organization.

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