Manual – Indian Police – An Introductory and Statistical Overview – Pt. 1


  1. Indian civilization is one of the most ancient civilizations of the world, and so are its various systems and sub systems. Accordingly, the Indian Police has a long past and has reached its present state passing through various social, political and cultural vicissitudes. The existing police system in India appears to be a unique and peculiar amalgam of various features of Ancient, Mughal and British police and policing systems. The present police system structurally and functionally owes its existing to the various Acts and Enactments promulgated by the colonial rulers. The Indian Police Act, 1861 is the basic foundation of the present day Indian Police. It is, therefore, correctly said that the present day Indian Police System, in the contemporary contexts, has become old, archaic and outdated. There is an urgent need to replace this system. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, has therefore, issued directions to the Central Government and the State Governments to enact new Police Acts. Consequently, a Model Police Act, has been formulated and circulated to the various State Governments, and the State governments are preparing to enact new Police Acts for their respective police organizations. Features of the Indian Police
  2. The State List: Police in India primarily belong to the State List of the Constitution and, therefore, police, policing and various police matters basically fall into the jurisdiction of the respective State governments. Police organizations are identified by the name of the State to which they belong, and even their nomenclatures are given after the names of the respective States, i.e. Rajasthan Police, Assam Police, Bihar Police, Kerala Police etc., etc.

2.1 Concurrent List: The police are organized, maintained and directed by the States of the Indian Union. The Indian Police System is horizontally stratified like military forces and is organized into various cadres. The police in each State are divided vertically into armed and unarmed branches.

2.2 The CPOs: There is no concept of federal police in India, though, the Central Government maintains various Central Police Organizations (CPOs). The CPOs are mostly Para-military in nature and are assigned specific nature of duties which are peculiar and specific to their operations and functioning. The CPOs do not discharge duties of civil police, but they help and assist the State Governments in exceptional cases.

2.3 The Common Parameters and the Specificity: There are quite a number of structural, functional and operational parameters, which are common to all police organizations of the country indicating the element of universality of the Indian Police. However, there are some aspects, which are specific and peculiar to each State police organization, which establish its individual existence rendering it independent and autonomous.

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