The number of vacancies for traffic policemen in the city increased from 309 posts in November 2022 to 642 in August 2023.
Vacancies in Bengaluru Traffic Police have resulted in a low traffic personnel to vehicle ratio. Bengaluru is a category ‘A’ city, which requires one police personnel for every 700 vehicles, according to a 2015 report by Bureau of Police Research and Development. However, the current traffic personnel to vehicle ratio in Bengaluru is 1: 2303.
According to the data from the Karnataka Transport department’s website, there are over one crore vehicles in Bengaluru metropolitan region as of July 2023 and the Bengaluru Traffic Police Website shows that there is an annual growth of 7 to 10 percent in vehicle population. As of August 2023 the traffic police department has a total strength of 4832 traffic personnel as against the sanctioned strength of 5474. The TomTom Traffic Index Rating (a website which provides geotechnology mapping), shows that Bengaluru is the second most congested city in the world, after London. In 2022, it took an average 29 minutes 10 seconds to cover 10 km.
An Inspector from the Planning Section of the Bengaluru Traffic Police said: “It would take some time; we are trying to manage efficiently with the available resources.” He said that the department has automated the enforcement process and takes assistance from about 500 home guards and 600 personnel from the traffic warden organisation. He added that the officials retiring from service and shifting to other departments are the reason for the increase in number of vacancies.
The Inspector of Madivala Traffic Police Station, one of the traffic hotspots in the city said: “At any point of the day we are posting one officer and three staff, just to maintain the Silk Board Junction. They are supported by two home guards and two marshals from Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL).”
However, a public transport user says, “I feel there are not enough traffic police in Bengaluru. Whenever the infrastructure is unable to absorb the load, you need more policemen. How much can you rely on technology?” He said that he has not seen enough traffic officers at Silk Board Junction where there is congestion for 30 to 40 minutes every day.
A traffic management expert, Prof M. N. Sreehari said that the increasing number of traffic junctions, traffic violations and vehicles in Bengaluru require more traffic personnel on road especially during the peak hours. He said that automation of traffic management is only supplementary and it requires police personnel for efficient organisation of traffic movement and control. An effective solution would be “to increase the ratio of police personnel to vehicles,” he said.