‘Rly police staff strength inadequate to ensure safety of women at night’

Women are vulnerable to assault and robbery in moving trains," said Mumbai Railway Police Commissioner Prabhat Kumar on Wednesday, admitting that their staff strength was insufficient to ensure their safety in local trains.

Addressing the issue of safety of women on the sidelines of an event in the city during the ongoing Railway Safety Week, Kumar said at their current strength, it was impossible to provide more police cover for women commuting at night.

"Commuters have demanded that there should be one constable in each women's compartment. As per our calculations, that would require 882 personnel, as each rake on the western line has five women's coaches while the number varies on rakes on the Central line," he added.

At present, the railway police have 3,500 personnel (constable and assistant sub inspector level). There are 200 male officers and 431 women personnel. "Officers are present at every station all day. There is a demand to increase forces on platforms as well. This effectively means that we require around 2,600 personnel at night. This is just not possible. We do not have video cameras and other advanced gadgets on local trains. The most we can do is post one constable for two compartments in each train," he said.

Kumar, however, said he was hopeful of bolstering the existing staff strength soon. "We have submitted an affidavit in the Bombay High Court seeking sanction for 100 additional posts in the Government Railway Police (GRP). It has been approved by the state government but is pending with the Railway Board. I am hopeful that a decision will be taken soon," he said.

Kumar also launched a booklet, Know Your Railway Police, on Wednesday. It is aimed at educating commuters about railway police. "The most frequent query from public as well as my staff is about the roles of the GRP and RPF. The booklet details the roles of both organisations as well as their jurisdiction," he said.

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