In addition to maintaining law and order, police authorities have been integral to providing basic social services as we deal with the pandemic. Yet, the police-public interface continues to be marked by deep distrust, often hampering policing efficiency. Women, as even anecdotal evidence suggests, feel particularly intimidated by the police. Within law enforcement, women make up only 7.28% of India's total police force. Of these, 90% are constables, while less than 1% hold supervisory positions. Would improving this gender bias within the force help in ensuring that the police is able to carry out its duties more effectively? Will a more gender representative police force help build trust within communities? How can we make a career in the police force an accessible and inviting opportunity for women in India?
In our fifth Anahita Speaker Series session of 2020, Mokshada Patil—superintendent of police, Aurangabad Rural—drew on her years long experience to discuss how creating a gender equal police force can create conditions for effective policing, and how police authorities can work with various stakeholders to build trust. The discussion was moderated by Sharon Robson, a Vedica scholar.