AAP reverses trend with 13 IPS as district police chiefs in Punjab
The previous governments in Punjab have been posting PPS officers as district police chiefs with an aim to give opportunities to home-grown officers
With the appointment of 13 IPS officers as district police chiefs in Punjab, the AAP government has reversed previous trends of recruiting Punjab Police Service officials as SSPs in the state, much to the disappointment of senior PPS officers hoping to clinch the plum post.
The previous governments in Punjab, at least in the past two decades, have been posting PPS officers as district police heads with an aim to give opportunities to home-grown officers.
However, on few occasions, especially during the SAD-BJP regime between 2007-2017, only two to three directly recruited IPS officers were posted as district police chiefs and rest were from PPS.
According to senior police officers at the helm of affairs during the previous Captain Amarinder Singh-led government, a formula of posting IPS-PPS as district police chiefs largely with 60:40 ratio was adopted in giving posting of SSPs so that home-grown officers also get an equal chance.
With the new postings of 13 IPS officers, from 28 police districts in Punjab, all have now IPS officers as district police chiefs.
Out of these, SSP Sangrur Mandeep Sidhu, SSP Ranjit Dhilllon and SSP Jalandhar Rural Satinder Singh are the three officers who are IPS but were promoted as PPS.
Even though police officers at the helm of affairs in the Bhagwan Mann government say that the aim behind posting IPS officers is to bring more strict policing at the district levels, the move has left senior PPS officers hoping to get the posting high and dry.
“The move has closed the window of opportunity for senior PPS who throughout the career worked dedicatedly for the core policing with a dream that one day they will head the force. This is set to demoralise the locally groomed officers hugely,” a senior PPS-rank officer said on the condition of anonymity.
Posting PPS-rank officers have always been a bone of contention whenever any new dispensation took over in Punjab with a lobby pushing that IPS officers are upright and strict. Those favouring PPS officers opines that locally groom officers know the policing better and these officers understand the local politics as well.
A senior IPS officer claimed that Indian Police Service (Cadre) Rules only direct that IPS or IPS promotee officers should be posted to the 27 IPS cadre posts.
“A state police officer can be temporarily appointed to an IPS cadre post if there is an unavailability of IPS officers or in case of exigencies. For this, the state government has to seek permission from the Centre. This stop-gap arrangement can last for only three months,” the official said.
The culture of appointing state police officers to key posts began at the peak of militancy in the state, when several police districts were created in which ASPs were often deputed as SSPs.
The PPS officers claim that there are no rules that differentiate between IPS and non-IPS officers for a post, nor is any permission required from the Centre.
“When Amarinder Singh government had took over in 2017 in Punjab, an idea to have only IPS officers at district police chiefs was pushed strongly. But ultimately, it was decided to have PPS officers as district police heads too in order to keep the zeal of these officers alive,” a DGP rank officer posted during that tenure revealed.
A senior functionary in the government revealed that the government plans to post PPS officers in Vigilance Bureau.