Its presence is needed more than ever for staffing women’s police stations and to accompany male colleagues for house searches or for guard duties during processions and public gatherings. While the presence of female contingents on such occasions is essential – especially when the police is interacting with women – it is also important to explode the myth that women cannot perform as well as their male colleagues on other occasions. Meanwhile, their disinterest in this service is intriguing at a time when unemployment rates are high and female participation in the national labour force is on the rise. This phenomenon needs to be probed objectively and corrective measures taken.
The police department has claimed that women do not respond in spite of the incentives that are offered to them. The fact is that most of the incentives are in monetary terms and puny. They do not compensate for the anti-women environment in the police service. For instance, the glass ceiling for women in the police department is much lower and their rise to the higher echelons of the police bureaucracy is actively discouraged. They are not provided the facilities which they genuinely need, such as transport when on duty during late hours. Moreover, the behaviour and language – often abusive and oppressive – of their male colleagues discourage many new entrants. If women have to be attracted to the law-enforcement agency and retained, it is important that all members of the police service at all levels are sensitised to the needs of their female colleagues which they are not at the moment. Drawn from a society that has yet to shed its pro-male biases, not many police officers or the rank and file of the force is aware of the compulsions of gender equality. Moreover, training courses will also have to be upgraded so that both men and women learn modern investigative and law-enforcement methods as well as the norms of social interaction without violating the dignity of others. Women would then also be expected to respond and prove their capacity to perform as well as their male colleagues.