India remains among the least policed countries in the world, with one cop looking after every 663 Indians. Out of 19.26 lakh police officers in the country, 56,944 are deployed just for the safety of 20,828 VIPs.
Data shows ‘VIP culture’ more prevalent in Eastern states.
India remains among the least policed countries in the world, with one cop for 663 citizens.India remains among the least policed countries in the world, with one cop for 663 citizens.
Despite promises by politicians year after year, VIP culture continues to thrive in India.
The latest data reveals that some 20,000 VIPs have on average three cops to protect each of them while there is a huge shortage of policemen for ordinary citizens. Data compiled by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) under the home ministry shows that out of a total 19.26 lakh police officers in the country, 56,944 are deployed just for the safety of 20,828 VIPs across 29 states and six Union territories. That makes an average of 2.73 cops for every VIP in the country. Lakshadweep is the only state/UT where no one has been given dedicated police protection.
For ordinary citizens, however, India remains among the least policed countries in the world, with one cop looking after every 663 Indians. More than threat perception, having a police officer around for security has become a status symbol for many. Although the Centre has taken steps such as banning red beacons, states make their own rules and use police to provide personal security to many, often citing ‘threat to life’ as the reason.
The BPR&D data shows that VIP culture is more prevalent in north and east India. Bihar, which has one of the poorest police-to-population ratios, has the maximum number of 3,200 ‘VIPs’ being given protection by 6,248 cops. West Bengal is another state that makes full use of police for such privileges. The state has 2,207 ‘VIPs’ protected by 4,233 cops, while only 501 cops were originally sanctioned for such duties.
Bengal is followed by J&K, which has 2,075 ‘VIPs’ getting security from 4,499 policemen. Uttar Pradesh, whose CM Yogi Aditya Nath has vowed to prune VIP culture, is not far behind. There are 1,901 protectees in the state with 4,681 cops at their service. Punjab has 1,852 VIPs protected by as many as 5,315 cops.
Delhi, home to dignitaries such as the PM and President has only 489 protected persons but has the maximum number of cops, 7,420, deputed to secure them. Official say the number of cops on VIP duties in Delhi is justified because all important movements and highprofile institutions such as Parliament, Supreme Court, ministries etc run from here.
Officials spoke to said problems arise when MLAs, local politicians and bureaucrats/judges in states are provided police protection. “In states such as Bihar, UP, West Bengal and Punjab, it is seen as a status symbol and is encouraged by the administrations,” said an officer.