Sub-inspector is a rank used extensively in the Indian Police, Pakistani Police and Sri Lankan Police, which is primarily based on the British model. It was formerly used in most British colonial police forces and in certain British police forces as well. The rank usually was in charge of a police substation or assisted an inspector.
The rank of sub-inspector was introduced into the Metropolitan Police in the late 19th century. It did not last long, being effectively replaced by station sergeant in 1890. Officers who already held the rank retained it, and were promoted to inspector as soon as a vacancy arose.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
British South Africa Police
The rank of sub inspector was replaced after the Rhodesian Unilateral Declaration of Independence with three grades of Patrol Officer, Senior Patrol Officer and Section Officer with one, two, and three gold coloured bars respectively.
A sub-inspector (SI) is generally in command of few police personnel (with head constables, the equivalent of corporals, commanding police outposts). He is the lowest ranked officer who under Indian Police rules and regulations can file a charge sheet in court, and is usually the first investigating officer. Officers subordinate to him cannot file charge sheets, but can only investigate cases on his behalf.
A sub-inspector ranks above an assistant sub-inspector of police (ASI) and below an inspector (who usually supervises a group of police stations). Most sub-inspectors are directly recruited into the police and have better educational qualifications than lower-ranking police officers. In busy police stations there are also additional sub-inspectors (Addl. SI), who are generally officers who have come up through the ranks. In this case, the directly recruited sub-inspector in charge is referred to as the principal sub-inspector.
Specialised units such as the Central Armed Reserve Police Force, State Armed Reserve Police and Armed Battalions use the same rank, but generally these officers do not have any investigative powers. There are also specialist non-investigative officers in other Indian law enforcement agencies, such as sub-inspector (band) and sub-inspector (motor transport).
The rank insignia for a sub-inspector is two (five point) stars, and a red and blue striped ribbon at the outer end of the shoulder straps. This is similar to the insignia of a subedar in the Indian Army. The assistant sub-inspector will have one (five point) star, and a red and blue striped ribbon at the outer end of the shoulder straps. This is similar to the insignia of a naib subedar in the Indian Army. The rank insignia for principal sub-inspector and additional sub-inspector are one and the same.
In the Sri Lanka Police Service, sub-inspector of police (SI) is the lowest rank of officers. The rank is above the rank of police sergeant major (PSM) and below an inspector (IP). Generally an SI would be the officer in charge (OIC) of a small police station, a detachment of police personal or deputy OIC of a larger police station in a metropolitan area.
Most sub-inspectors are directly recruited into the police service as probationary sub-inspectors for one year's training. The basic educational entry requirement is that an applicant has passed the G.C.E Advance Level Examination. Annually certain number of Non-Gazetted Officers who have come up through the ranks are promoted to rank of SI. The rank insignia for a sub-inspector is one star.
Other police forces
- p.37 Ross, David & May Robin The Royal Canadian Mounted Police 1873-1987 1988 Osprey Publishing