Law enforcement in India

Law enforcement in India

Law enforcement in India by numerous law enforcement agencies. Like many federal structures, the nature of the Constitution of India mandates law and order as a subject of the state, therefore the bulk of the policing lies with the respective states and territories of India.

At the federal level, the many agencies are part of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, and support the states in their duties. Larger cities also operate metropolitan police forces, under respective state governments. All senior police officers in the state police forces, as well as those in the federal agencies, are members of the Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Revenue Service (IRS) one of the civil services.


Central (federal) agencies

Indira Gandhi International Airport and all other airports are guarded by personnel of the Central Industrial Security Force
An armored vehicle of the Mumbai Police Force. After the recent attack on Mumbai all metropolitan police which are under the command of the Central Government have paramilitary type forces affiliated with them
Quick Reaction Commando Force of the Mumbai police
Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Sigh protected by Special Protections Group

The federal police are controlled by the central Government of India. The majority of federal law enforcement agencies are controlled by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The head of each of the federal law enforcement agencies is always an Indian Police Service (IPS) or an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer.

Central Armed Police Forces

There are eight forces officially defined as "Central Armed Police Forces". They are frequently unofficially referred to as "paramilitary".

Border Security Force

The Border Security Force (BSF) is responsible for guarding India's land borders during peacetime and preventing trans-border crimes. It is a central paramilitary force operating under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 demonstrated the inadequacies of the existing border management system and led to the formation of the Border Security Force as a unified central agency with the specific mandate of guarding India's international boundaries. The BSF's paramilitary capabilities were used in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 against the Pakistani Armed Forces in areas where the Indian Armed Forces was thinly spread; BSF troops took part in the Battle of Longewala.

Although originally charged with guarding India's external boundaries, the BSF has more recently been given the task of aiding the Indian Army in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations. When the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir broke out in 1989, the Jammu and Kashmir state police and the thinly-deployed Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) struggled to cope with the spiraling violence, and the Indian government deployed the BSF to Jammu and Kashmir to combat Islamic militants.

Central Industrial Security Force

The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) is used to guard industrial installations around the country owned by the Central government as well as securing seaports and airports. Recently CISF has started providing services to non government organisations. Infosys being the first one. many other private industries has also applied for the same.

Central Reserve Police Force

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is one of the largest paramilitary organisations in the world.[citation needed] Its main objective is to assist and help state and union territories' law enforcement agencies in maintaining law and order and to contain insurgency. It is also deployed as anti-terrorist unit in various regions.

Indo-Tibetan Border Police

The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) are a paramilitary force responsible for security along the Indo-Tibetan Border, covering 2115 km. The ITBP is trained in mountaineering, disaster management, and nuclear, biological and chemical disasters. ITBP personnel have been deployed abroad to UN peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and elsewhere.

National Security Guards

The National Security Guards (NSG) is a commando unit originally created for counter-terrorism and hostage rescue missions. Raised in 1986, it is popularly known as the "Black Cats" for the uniform worn by its operators. Like most military and elite security units in India, it is media-shy and the general Indian public is largely unaware of its capabilities and operational details.

The NSG draws its members from the Indian Army and various central police units. It is India's premier counter-terror outfit and is typically deployed in situations that would be beyond the capabilities of regular police units. An NSG team with a dedicated transport aircraft is always stationed at Palam airport in New Delhi, ready to deploy in 30 minutes. The NSG has also been increasingly tasked with protection of VIPs. This role has expanded in recent years, as several politicians have come to view NSG protection as a status symbol. This has caused some concern among senior NSG officers and Home Ministry officials.[citation needed]

Railway Protection Force

The Railway Protection Force (RPF) is responsible for law enforcement on Indian Railways. They maintain discipline on platforms as well as travel inside trains to keep passengers secure. Railway accidents are also handled by them.

Special Protection Group

The Special Protection Group (SPG) is the executive protection agency of the Government of India. It is responsible for the protection of the Prime Minister of India, other top officials, and their immediate families. The force was established in 1985 after the assassination of Indira Gandhi.

Sashastra Seema Bal / Armed Border Force

The Sashastra Seema Bal, in English "Armed Border Force", is a Central Armed Police Force deployed on the borders with Nepal and Bhutan.

Central investigation and intelligence institutions

Central Bureau of Investigations

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is India's premier investigative agency, responsible for a wide variety of criminal and national security matters. It was established on 1 April 1963 and evolved from the Special Police Establishment founded in 1941. The Central Bureau of Investigation is controlled by the Department of Personnel and Training in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension of the Union Government usually headed by a Union Minister who reports directly to the Prime Minister. It is India’s official Interpol unit. The CBI draws its officers from the best IPS and IRS officers around the country. It is responsible for investigation into various crimes and national security. The agency specializes in investigating crimes involving high ranking government officials and politicians.

Indian Income-tax Department

The Indian Income-tax Department is India's premier financial agency, responsible for a wide variety of financial and fiscal matters. The Tax department is controlled by the Department of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance of the Union Government usually headed by a Union Minister who reports directly to the Prime Minister. It is India’s official FATF unit. The Incometax Department draws its officers from the IRS officers around the country. It is responsible for investigation into various economic crimes and tax evasion.

Directorate of Revenue Intelligence

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) is an intelligence-based organisation responsible for the co-ordination of India's anti-smuggling efforts.Officers in this organisation are drawn from Indian Revenue Service(I.R.S.).It functions under the Income tax.

National Investigation Agency

National Investigation Agency (NIA) is the central agency to combat terror in India. The agency is empowered to deal with terror related crimes across states without special permission from the states. The National Investigation Agency Bill 2008 to create the agency was moved in Parliament by Union Home Minister on 16 December 2008.[1][2][3] The NIA was created in response to the Nov 2008 Mumbai terror attacks as need for a central agency to combat terrorism was found. It also deals with drug trafficking and currency counterfeiting.

Narcotics Control Bureau

The NCB is responsible for anti-narcotic operations all over the country. It checks the spread of contraband as well as the cultivation of drugs.

Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR&D)

The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) was set up on 28 August 1970 in furtherance of the objective of the Government of India for the modernization of Police Forces. It is involved in a research work of problems confronting the Indian police, the training of different ranks of Police in India, and the introduction of technology at both federal and state levels.

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)

The National Police Commission in 1979 recommended the creation of a "Nodal Agency" which would suggest a common format for maintenance of Crime-Criminal records at all the police stations in the country, with the same common format being utilised to create shareable databases at police stations and districts and at state and federal Level.

On this recommendation NCRB was created in 1986 with amalgamation of the Directorate of Coordination Police Computers, Central Finger Print Bureau, Data Section of Coordination Division of Central Bureau of Investigation and Statistical Section of the Bureau of Police Research and Development.

Central forensic institutions

Central Forensic Science Laboratory

The Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) is a wing of the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs, which fulfils the forensic requirements in the country.[1] It houses the only DNA repository in South and Southeast Asia.

There are four central forensic laboratories in India, at Hyderabad, Kolkata,Mumbai,Rajkot, Chandigarh,Pune and New Delhi. CFSL Hyderabad is centre of excellence in chemical sciences, CFSL Kolkata in biological sciences and CFSL Chandigarh in physical sciences. These laboratories are under the control of the Directorate of Forensic Science (DFS) of the Ministry of Home Affairs. The laboratory in New Delhi is under the control of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and investigates cases on its behalf.

National Institute of Forensic Sciences (NIFC)

The National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Science (formerly the "Institute of Criminology and Forensic Science") came into existence on 4 January 1972 on the recommendations of a Committee appointed by the UGC to look into the applied aspects of education, training and research in the fields of Criminology and Forensic Science to commensurate with the growing needs of the country in general and the Criminal Justice System in India in particular. In September 1976, the Institute was constituted as a separate department under the Ministry of Home Affairs headed by a full time Director.

State police

Hyundai Accent Police car of the Metropolitan Police of Chennai

Each state and union territory of India has a state police force, headed by the Commissioner of Police (State) or Director General of Police (DGP). It is controlled by the Chief Minister and Home Minister of the state/union territory. The state police is responsible for maintaining law and order in townships of the state and the rural areas.

States such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have taken steps to get their police force trained by advanced police training schools notably the Scotland Yard, Atlanta City Police of the USA and the World Police Academy of Canada. The Tamil Nadu state police is at the forefront of advancement with the Tamil Nadu Police Academy which now is seeking university status. Kerala Police is also the first police force in South Asia, to adopt community policing for effective and pro-public friendly initiatives and action.


  • Some state forces are organized into Police Ranges, headed by A Special Inspector General of Police(Spl.IG) or Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) or Additional Commissioner of Police, who control several Police Districts.
  • The Police District is the fulcrum of state police activity and each Police District of the state is headed by a Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police or Superintendent of Police (SP). In many states an SP is assisted by one or more Additional SPs.Generally a Police district is same as a revenue district of a state.
  • The Police District is divided into Police Sub-Divisions and will be under the command of a Assistant Commissioner of Police or Deputy Superintendent of Police.
  • The Police Sub-Division is made up of one or more Police Circles, and is under the command of an Inspector of Police often referred to as the Circle Inspector (CI).
  • Under the Police Circles are the police stations, generally under the control of a Sub-Inspector (SI). As per the various Indian laws, Sub-Inspector (and above) are the only officers who can file a charge sheet in the court.

Metropolitan police

In addition to the state police, major Indian cities have their own police forces which follow the Police Commissionerate System. The Chief of Metropolitan Police is the Police Commissioner. Reporting to the Police Commissioner are the Joint Police Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner of Police and Assistant Commissioner of Police.

The majority of metropolitan police forces are subordinate to the state government. The exception are the Delhi Police, which as part of the Union Territory Cadre are directly under the federal Ministry of Home Affairs . All other metropolitan forces report to their respective state governments.

Traffic Police

Highway Police and Traffic Police in the small towns come under the state police, but Traffic Police in the cities come under the metropolitan police. The Traffic Police are responsible for maintaining the smooth flow of traffic and stopping offenders in the city or town, whilst the Highway Police are responsible for securing the highways and for catching speeding offenders.

State Armed Police Forces

The State Armed Police Forces are organizations which provide the state with policing in particularly violent or serious situations. Such forces are often involved with combating banditry and Naxalites. Like the Central Armed Police Forces, they are sometimes known unofficially as "paramilitary forces". Each state police force maintains its own State Armed Police Force (known by names such as Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC), Special Armed Police, etc.) which is responsible for emergencies and crowd control issues. They are generally activated only on orders from the Additional Commissioner of Police, and higher-level authorities. The armed constabulary do not usually come into contact with the general public unless they are assigned to VIP duty or to maintain order during fairs, festivals, athletic events, elections, and natural disasters. They may also be sent to quell outbreaks of student or labor unrest, organized crime, and communal riots; to maintain key guard posts; and to participate in anti-terrorist operations. Depending on the type of assignment, the Armed Police force may carry only lathis or lethal weapons.

Selection and Training

The recruitment process differs according to the level of the position, and direct entry (where an applicant does not have to start at the lowest level) is possible. The educational requirements increase with recruitments for higher posts.

The Superintendents of Police (SP) are recruited every year by the UPSC (a wing of the central government) by an extremely competitive exam and are appointed into the Indian Police Service. The IPS officers are then assigned to a state force. Superintendents of Police undergo rigorous training for 44 weeks. The training programme also involves external invitees such as lawyers and management consultants. At the end of probation, they undergo an orientation training of few weeks at the assigned state's police academy.

Lower, non-managerial positions are selected by the state or central government and are trained at Police Recruit Schools. The duration of training for inspectors is roughly a year, and for constables is nearly 9 months. The training staff for these schools are drawn from the police force itself.


Unlike in many other countries, the various state police forces in India extensively use SUVs. The Mahindra Legend Jeep used to be the most common police car in India. In recent years, other SUVs have been employed by the police, such as the Maruti Gypsy, Mahindra Bolero, Tata Sumo, Tata Safari, Maruti Versa, Chevrolet Tavera and Toyota Qualis. SUVs are known for their capabilities to move around in any sort of terrain.

MUVs are used by police in cities, including metropolitan areas like Delhi and Mumbai where Chevrolet Taveras and Toyota Qualiss are extensively used. Though most cities use SUVs and MUVs, some cities like Chennai have adopted sedans like the Hyundai Accent. Depending upon the state, police vehicles may have individual revolving lights, strobes or light bars etc. An extensive modernisation drive has ensured that these vehicles are equipped with two-way radio sets in communication with a central control room. Highway Police vehicles generally also have equipment like speed radars, breath analysers and emergency first aid kits.

For traffic regulation and patrolling in cities, motorcycles are also used. Most of them were the Indian version of Royal Enfield Bullet. Of late, other motorcycles like the Bajaj Pulsar and TVS Apache have also started being used by the police forces. This is because of increasing congestion in cities where the heavier Bullets would prove to be unwieldy when compared to the nimbler handling the newer bikes were capable of. The bikes are provided with two-way radios, strobes and sirens & are generally painted white.

Weapons and Equipment


The weapons and equipments issued vary from state to state and agency to agency. The standard equipment for a constable on their beat is the lathi (Not to be confused with traditional 6 to 8 ft long ones)or baton which is generally made of bamboo but recently polymer ones are also being issued. Indian police officers generally do not carry firearms when on regular duty, though they are always available at police stations. These include .303 Lee Enfield rifles(being phased out) 7.62 1A Self Loading Rifles and SAF Carbine 2A1

Some special units in the state and federal level police forces may also have additional automatic weapons such as AK 47, A-7, Vz. 58, AKM, INSAS assault rifles and Bren guns. Officers of and above the rank of Sub-Inspector are authorized to carry a sidearm, generally a 9 mm Browning pistol or a Glock 17. Recently, after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks Home ministry decided to issue a pistol to Head Constables too. Police commandos and newly raised SWAT units also uses Heckler & Koch MP5, Brügger & Thomet MP9, AK-103 and M4A1 Carbine

Encounter Squads

The Mumbai Encounter Squad is an unofficial group within the police force of Mumbai, India. It consists of several high-profile officers from the Detection Unit. The squad primarily deals with members of the Mumbai underworld and other criminal gangs and carries out the elimination of criminals. At one point it was headed by Pradeep Sawant.[4]

The Mumbai police's Crime Branch is controlled by Joint Commissioner of Mumbai Police, and has a force of approximately 1500 officers. The Detection Unit at the Crime Branch is considered most important, as it deals directly with the underworld and terrorists. Fourteen units, including the Crime Intelligence Unit, and the Fingerprint Unit, work with the Detection Unit. The expertise of Detection Unit is used controlling Mumbai underworld and Gang-wars.[5]

This is a Tit-For-Tat technique used by the Indian police to kill those criminals who use loopholes in justice system to escape justice. Considered as Men of the Moment : Created by the police around 1997 to deal with the growing extortion demands and threat calls to builders, realtors, businessmen, Bollywood denizens—and also the bloodbath spilling over onto Mumbai streets as a result of inter-gang wars—the encounter policy was heavily dependent on men such as Nayak and Sharma. But they were just two members of the five four/five-man squads created with the blessings of then deputy commissioners of police Satyapal Singh and Parambir Singh, who had the task of gathering information about the underworld and cutting it to size.[5]

The squads soon came to be associated with ‘encounters’, a euphemism for a situation in which a gangster is cornered, asked to surrender, ostensibly attacks the police or tries to escape, and is shot dead in retaliatory action. As the encounters increased, so did the popularity of the ‘encounter specialist’. Daya Nayak, Pradeep Sharma, Ravindra Angre, Praful Bhosale, Raju Pillai, Vijay Salaskar, Shivaji Kolekar, Sachin Waze and Sanjay Kadam became cult figures, mythologised by the media and hero-worshipped by the common man.[6] "In fact, through "Encounters" which are now known as "Police Operations", they and their key men like Police Inspector Daya Nayak and Sachin Waze have wiped out the underworld from Mumbai and neighbouring Thane district."[5]

See also


External links

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