Bengaluru’s vehicle population has spiked to 79 lakh, but there has not been a proportionate increase in the number of traffic police personnel. There are just 4,600 officers in the city’s 44 traffic police stations, 662 short of the sanctioned strength of 5,262. As many as 280 vacancies were filled recently. Because of this, the city, infamous for its traffic gridlocks, may see more chaos. Though the state government has sanctioned the posts, it has not granted permission to fill them.
“There is a need for more police personnel to manage the growing traffic. Recently, the traffic police department had sought more personnel,” a traffic police officer said. “While recruitment could take a year, training constables would take another year. It would take two years before a traffic policeman takes up field duty. In the interim, we have to depend on home guards to manage traffic,” he added.
Meanwhile, experts say it is high time more police personnel are recruited to manage the growing traffic. “It is not possible to manage traffic with such a small force. The police have to consider the population ratio and vehicle ratio. In the city, every second person has a vehicle. Besides this, we have more than 10 lakh vehicles coming into the city from outside every day,” said M N Sreehari, traffic expert.
“The city’s roads can only take 15 lakh vehicles. The few policemen on the streets find it hard to manage traffic which is not disciplined,” he added. “Nearly 300 policemen would be on their weekly off on any given day and with two shifts, there would be around 1,500 men available on each shift. Apart from taking care of the traffic, they are expected to attend the court and keep a watch on violations and enforcement.
The right ‘vehicle to police’ ratio should be maintained and the city requires a minimum of 7,000 personnel,” Sreehari explains. P Harishekaran, who took charge as Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) recently, said: “I have to study the traffic density and the required human resources to manage traffic across the city.”