Police protection for the number of VIPs, ministers, MPs, MLAs, judges, bureaucrats, and private individuals reduced by 16% between 2016 and 2017, down from 20,828 to 17,468, as per data from a Union home ministry think-tank.
The BPRD report did not include VIPs in Jammu & Kashmir, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tamil Nadu and Arunachal Pradesh. In 2016, 2,075 persons in J&K were under police protection, The Hindustan Times reported.
The report, released last Friday by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD), shows that Uttar Pradesh was the state with the maximum reduction in the number of VIPs getting police protection from 1,901 in 2016 to just 110 in 2017. A large part of this reduction took place after March 2017, when CM Yogi Adityanath came to power. CM Adityanath said that “those who are enjoying security cover for the sake of status symbol, should be prepared to part with them”.
Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police OP Singh said: “We have been very strict in providing security cover as we feel that security should not be treated as a status symbol and should only be accorded to those who need it. We now have a realistic threat assessment with regard to who actually requires it, hence we have been able to reduce the number of VIPs to a large extent and divert the personnel to other duties.”
In 2016, 4,681 UP Police officers were deployed for the security of 1,901 VIPs. This number came down to 1,803 policemen for 110 VIPs in 2017.
Surprisingly, the numbers in West Bengal and Punjab rose significantly between 2016 and 2017. The State of West Bengal recorded an increase from 2,207 in 2016 to 2,698 in 2017, while in Punjab it rose from 1,852 in 2016 to 2,344 in 2017.
The data also shows that the highest numbers of VIPs are in Bihar, at 3,052, despite a small decrease in security personnel from 3,200 in 2016.
Raveen Thukral, media advisor to Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh told The Hindustan Times that the numbers also reflected the state’s efforts to ensure all security personnel are now “debuted on record”.
The former Director-General of the Uttar Pradesh Police, Prakash Singh, said the reduction in the number of VIPs across the country is a welcome sign.
“The VIP culture still dominates the Indian mindset, which should be done away with. Only in exceptional cases, security should be provided. Generally what happens is that a person manages to get a threat letter and the local police provide him/her security under political pressure or recommendation from the head of police. The government should try and bring this number (of VIPs) to 5,000,” Singh added.
A senior MHA official said, “Reducing the number of police protectees is part of a larger exercise to divert the police for important law and order duties. It was often seen that people who don’t require security kept it for a longer period. The Intelligence Bureau and state police forces have been repeatedly told to be realistic while analysing a threat to a person. This number will further reduce in the coming years.”
Despite a decrease in the number of VIPs getting police protection, the number of police personnel deployed for their security has increased marginally with 56,933 personnel deployed for 17,468 VIPs in 2017.
The report also states that one police personnel was deployed in the country for every 663 citizens in 2017, the BPRD data revealed. There were about 1.94 million police personnel in the country, while the population in India on October 1, 2017, stood at 1.29 billion.
In Delhi, 465 people had police protection in 2017 as compared to 489 in 2016, according to BPRD data.
Read more here: Hindustan Times