101 Things You Wanted To Know About The Police But Were Reluctant To Ask

Why do we have a police force?

We have a police force to provide citizens with a sense of safety and security. The police are there to maintain peace and order in society as well as prevent and detect crime. They are there as the law enforcers – to make sure that everyone, including the police force itself, follows the law at every step.

What are the police supposed to do?

The police force has several duties: it must prevent and control crime, and detect and investigate it properly whenever it happens. It must also prepare an honest, evidence-base case for the prosecutor to present at court. The police force has a responsibility for maintaining overall law and order and for this purpose also gathers information about what is happening in and around the community it serves.

What is meant by police powers?

The police have all sorts of different powers, all of which are given by law and they must use them only according to the procedure laid down in the law. So they can make arrests, carry out search and seizures, investigate offences, question witnesses, interrogate suspects, disperse unruly crowds and maintain order in society, but they have to do it strictly in the way the law lays down and not any other way. They cannot act just as they wish or want to. Any abuse of power or negligence of duty will amount to a breach of discipline, civil wrong or a crime and the police officer is liable to be punished.

Is there just one police force in India?

No. Each state has its own police force under the control of the government of that state. So there are many police forces in the country. Police that work in parts of India that are directly under the control of the central government like the capital Delhi, Chandigarh, Puducherry, Daman and Diu, Lakshwadeep Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Andaman and Nicobar Islands come under the control of the central government.

What are the paramilitary forces?

Paramilitary forces like the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Border Security Force (BSF), the Assam Rifles, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the National Security Guard (NSG) are armed policing organisations established for special duties by the central government. They are structured along the lines of the army and thus called paramilitary. They help the police in counter- insurgency or anti-terrorist activities and in moments of civil unrest.

Can anyone become a police officer?

Yes, anyone can become a police officer. However, you have to fulfill the

conditions and standards laid down for that particular rank. For example, to join as a constable you need to have at least passed high school. To join as a Sub Inspector you need to be a graduate.

How can I become a police officer?

There are three levels at which you can join the force. At the state level you can join either as a constable and go up to Deputy Superintendent of Police or you can join at Sub-Inspector level and get promoted all the way up to Superintendent of Police in charge of a district.

Constables and sub-inspectors have to take a written entrance test. If you pass you have to go for a physical test. If that is cleared then you are called for an interview. Then you go through a medical check-up then is the final selection done.

IPS officers on the other hand are recruited at the central level and ranks begin as either Additional or Assistant Superintendent or Superintendent of Police.

What is the IPS?

IPS is short for Indian Police Service. It is one of the three all-India services of the government of India; the other two being the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and the Indian Forest Service (IFS). It is a general pool from which police officers are drawn and sent out to serve in senior posts all over the country.

How do I join the IPS ?

First you have to sit for the preliminary examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Dates and venue are published from time to time in local and national newspapers. If you pass that you can sit for the main written examination.

If you clear the written examination you are interviewed by an interview board. When you are selected you are asked to indicate which central service you would like to join – the Foreign Service, the Administrative Service, the Police, Forest or Revenue. Only if you score very high marks will get your choice of service, because allotments to different civil services are merit-based.

What training will I get as an IPS officer?

In the IPS you go for a foundation training course at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy of Administration at Mussorie. This is followed by a basic training course at the National Police Academy at Hyderabad.

What kind of training do other ranks get?

Most states also have their own training schools where non-IPS officers and constables go for training. Later, there is also in-service training given from time to time. Other ranks get outdoor physical training, and training in the use of weapons, first aid, riot control and unarmed combat. They also get classroom training on various criminal laws, about procedure, about how to conduct investigations and control crowds and deal with all the many situations they come across.

How many police stations are there in the country?

There are 12,809 police stations in the country.

Do we have enough police officers?

No. According to United Nations standards, there should be about 230 police for every 100,000 people. But in India there are only 125 police officers for every 100,000 population. This is one of the lowest police to population ratios in the world. There are many vacancies which are not filled up. Although 16.6 lakh police personnel is the sanctioned strength there are in fact only 14.2 lakh.in service. That means there is a shortage of about 14.4%. But even that doesn’t give the whole picture, because there are more police in big cities than in smaller ones. Many police officers are used in guarding a very small number of very important people. Administrative and traffic duties take up lots more police personnel so there are large short-falls in the numbers left overall maintenance of law and order.

Are there women in the police force ?

Yes, but there are less than 5% of them in the force.

Do women police officer have different duties?

No. So far as rules and laws are concerned women police will do the same duties as men. But only women are posted at all-women police stations.

Are there any special reservations or quotas in the police force?

Yes. There are special quotas for recruiting scheduled castes (13.7%), scheduled tribes (8.7%), and other backward classes in every state. The central and state governments have their own rules about how many people may be recruited from these communities. However, there is no special reservation for minorities or for women. Muslims make up 7.6% of the police force.

Why is it necessary to have dalits, women, Muslims, Christians, tribals and others in the police force?

It is important that a police force has a good mix of men and women and people from every religion, class, caste and tribe. This increases understanding of the behaviour and attitudes of different communities and their culture, and helps to remove prejudices.

How can I tell if a person is a police officer and not some other official?

Police officers have a distinct uniform in khaki or blue with a cap, belt, and shoulder epaulettes that show their rank and which force they belong to. Police officers should also have a name tag displayed on the chest.

What are the different ranks in the police?

The constable is at the lowest rung of the ladder. From here the ranks move up to the Head Constable (HC), Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI), Sub-Inspector (SI), Inspector (IP), Assistant/Deputy Superintendent of Police (ASP/DySP), Additional Superintendent of Police (Addl SP), Superintendent of Police (SP), Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Inspector General of Police (IGP), Additional Director General of Police (ADG) and finally the Director General of Police (DGP).

What is a beat constable?

No, it is not a police officer who beats you! Just so you know, no policeman is allowed to use force with anyone except if they are resisting arrest or trying to escape. A beat police officer is called that because he has a regular specific area or route which he patrols – sometimes with another police officer – to check if everything is in order and nothing suspicious is going on. On night patrols the beat constable will sometimes call out or bang their lathis to indicate that he is on his rounds.

Do all police officers do all duties?

No. Specific duties are assigned to every police officer from the level of a Constable right up to the level of the DGP. These duties are listed in the police manuals of every state. A junior officer cannot perform those duties assigned to his senior. For example, an SI cannot do a duty assigned to an SP. However, anything that can be done by a lower ranking officer can be done by a senior ranking officer as well.