State police forces had 24% vacancies (about 5.5 lakh vacancies) in January 2016. Hence, while the sanctioned police strength was 181 police per lakh persons in 2016, the actual strength was 137 police. Note that the United Nations recommended standard is 222 police per lakh persons. 86% of the state police comprises of constabulary. Constables are typically promoted once during their service, and normally retire as head constables. This could weaken their incentive to perform well. Crime per lakh population has increased by 28% over the last decade (2005-2015). However, convictions have been low. In 2015, convictions were secured in 47% of the cases registered under the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The Law Commission has observed that one of the reasons behind this is the poor quality of investigations.
The CAG has found that weaponry of several state police forces is outdated, and the acquisition process of weapons slow, causing a shortage in arms and ammunition. An audit of the Rajasthan police force (2009 to 2014) concluded that there was a shortage of 75% in the availability of modern weapons against the state’s own specified requirements. The same audit also found that even when weapons were procured, a large proportion of them (59%) were lying idle because they had not been distributed to the police stations. Similar audits in West Bengal and Gujarat found shortages of 71% and 36% respectively in required weaponry.
Audits have noted that police vehicles are in short supply. New vehicles are often used to replace old vehicles, and there is a shortage of drivers. This affects the response time of the police, and consequently their effectiveness. As of January 2015, state forces had a total of 1,63,946 vehicles, marking a 30.5% deficiency against the required stock of vehicles (2,35,339 vehicles).