Mumbai: Even as Mumbai remains one of the top terror targets in the country and the need to protect public places and sensitive installations is unfulfilled because of shortage of policemen.
An RTI filed by activist Chetan Kothari reveals that hundreds of policemen in Mumbai are being deployed for private security for VIPs. This is putting additional strain on the force. Experts say this is a waste of resources.
Former Commissioner of police Julio Rebiero said, “Do they really need the security, in many cases we see that security has become only a status symbol.. most VIPs do not need police protection at all. "
What is shocking is that the VIPs who have been provided police security have not even been paying the Government the fees for the security. 22 VIPs in Mumbai owe the Government over Rs 42 lakh.
"What I have suggested to the minister is that a private force should be set up and any VIP who wants to use it should use the service and then pay for using that security,” said Julio Rebiero
Though for security reasons the names of the VIPs who get police security are not revealed, it is clear that there has been a steady increase in the number of police officers put on VIP security.
- In the year 2007, total number of officers deployed was 328.
- In the year 2008 The number went up to 360.
- In the year 2009 this no went up to 457.
- About three thousand constables are deployed for VIP security every year.
But police officials claim they keep taking help from other forces to counter the terror threat and shortage does not affect them.
Joint Commissioner, Mumbai Police Himanshu Roy said, "Public places are properly protected.. we have asked for SRP and other forces from outside to protect vital installations and places like railway stations, airports etc."
Officials may not want to admit it but for a force already facing a huge shortage of trained security men, VIP security has become an additional burden. The number of VIPs protected also continues to increase over the years making the problem serious.