State Armed Police Forces

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The State Armed Police Forces of India are the police units for dealing with serious law and order situations requiring a higher level of armed expertise than normal. The State Armed Police Forces exist in addition to the ordinary police services of the various states.

All states have different title for their armed police units. In addition to the term "Armed Police", other titles in different states include Special Armed Police, Armed Constabulary, Provincial Armed Constabulary, Pradeshik and State Military Police. Although the titles are different, their organisation, weapons, equipment and tasks are nearly the same. The central government of India now refers to these forces nationwide as the State Armed Police Forces and discourages use of the term "paramilitary". However, this terminology does not necessarily coincide with the existing terminology of the states of India; For example, the state of Bihar calls its state armed police force "Military Police", which clashes with central government definitions of "military" and "paramilitary". It is not yet clear whether such discrepancies will be resolved.

The State Armed Police act as a mobile armed reserve activated only on the orders from the Additional Commissioner of Police or above. They are not usually in contact with the public except during public events, civil unrest, and natural disasters. They maintain key guard posts and participate in antiterrorist operations. Depending on the type of assignment, they may be or may not be carrying firearms.

Within states, each police district may maintain its own teams of policemen with higher firearms competence. Such teams, known as "district armed police", are for purely local use and are not part of the State Armed Police Forces.

Bihar Military Police[edit]

The Bihar Military Police is the state armed police force for Bihar. It is currently frequently involved in clashes with Maoist rebels. The force has been expanding since 2006 to deal with the Maoist insurgency.

Karnataka State Reserve Police[edit]

In Karnataka, the armed police trace their origins to the erstwhile Mysore State Imperial Service.

The armed police of Karnataka are:

  • District Armed Reserve (DAR) for each district.
  • City Armed Reserve (CAR) in the 4 Commissionarates in the State namely Bangalore, Mysore, Mangalore and Hubli-Dharwad Cities.
  • Special Task Force (STF)
  • Karnataka Armed Reserve Mounted Police - HQ at Mysore.
  • Coastal Security Police (CSP)
  • Government Railway Police (GRP)

The KSRP is headed by an officer of the rank of Additional Director General of Police, who is assisted by an Inspector General and two Deputy Inspectors General of Police at the Police Headquarters. The Karnataka State Reserve Police at present consists of 10 Battalions. 4 Battalions have their headquarters at Bangalore and 1 each at Mysore, Belgaum, Gulbarga, Mangalore, Shimoga and Shiggoan.

Training Schools:

  • Karnataka State Reserve Police Training School, Munirabad.
  • Armed Police Training School, Bangalore.

The Coastal Security Police was established in the year 1999. The wing is headed by an Officer of the rank of Inspector General of Police, followed by Superintendent of Police & other Staff. The CSP exercises jurisdiction over the territorial Coastal waters of Karnataka from Talapady in Dakshina Kannada District to Sadashivgad in Uttara Kannada District covering about 320 km.

Kerala Armed Police[edit]

In Kerala, the armed police trace their origins to the early stages of the Kerala Police.

The armed police units of Kerala are:

  • The Malabar Special Police
  • The Kerala Armed Police Battalions (numbered I to V)
  • The Kerala Special Armed Police
  • The State Rapid Action Force.

The "Inspector General of Police, Armed Police Battalions", is the controlling authority who is assisted by the "Deputy Inspector General of Police, Armed Police Battalions". Each Battalion is under the control of a "Commandant" with the rank of Superintendent of Police.

The Special Armed Police was formed in 1955 by the then Travancore-Cochin government with its headquarters at Thiruvananthapuram. Besides law and order duties in the southern range, Special Armed Police personnel are assigned to guard duties at the Raj Bhavan (Government House), Police Headquarters, etc. For the welfare of their personnel, the S.A.P have a canteen, a gymnasium, a hospital with lab facilities and a nursery school. At present this battalion has a strength of seven companies.

Madhya Pradesh Special Armed Police[edit]

The main objective of this Department is to maintain Law and Order in the State.The responsibility of this Special Armed Force to look after the law and arrangement and also to control the areas affected by Naxalites, Social Courtesies, removal of bandits. Other than this they are active against Natural calamities like Flood, Earthquake etc. Moreover, these special forces are active in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and in the States of South to control the terrorism in these place.

Odisha(ଓଡ଼ିଶା) Special Armed Police[edit]

Odisha's state armed police are called the Special Armed Police (SAP). They were formed in 1946 as the Odisha Military Police, and the current name was adopted in 1980. There are currently 8 regular battalions and one reserve battalion. The headquarters of the SAP is at state Police Headquarters in Cuttack. The force is under the general control and direction of the Director General and the Inspector General of Police.

The Odisha Military Police was formed on 1 March 1946 by the Odisha Military Police Act (Odisha Act VII of 1946). Soon after its creation this force had to handle serious situations in places like Bhadrak, Ib, Barang, Rampur, Cuttack etc. Due to strenuous nature of work of the military police and need for more personnel its strength was increased in 1947 and 1948. The strength was further increased with the formation of a Gurkha Military Police unit. On 1 st March 1948, after merger of feudatory States in the Province of Odisha, there was a re-organisation of the police organisation and the 2nd Battalion of the Odisha Military police was established. This battalion had both Gurkha and Odia companies. While the battalion headquarters was at Dhenkanal, two detachment camps of this battalion were functioning at Nayagarh and Jharsuguda. Subsequently, other battalions were formed in different parts of the state.

SOG(SPECIAL OPERATION GROUP):-This is the Special Force of Odisha Police.The SOG was formed in August 2004 on the order of the Government of Odisha (Home department) with the objective of neutralising any terrorist, insurgent, extremist or illegal armed groups operating in Odisha.The SOG originally had 462 regular active posts.But, by 2009 it had grown to 1,370 personnel.

It does not recruit personnel directly, instead the personnel are drawn from various state police units and the assignments are based on tenures with a maximum period of 3 years. It also allows hiring of operatives from the armed forces, central paramilitary forces and police units of other states.They receive training at a special school in Chandaka and also from the army base in Jabalpur.

The main role of the SOG is counter-insurgency operations. But, handling hostage situations and hijackings also come under its responsibility. It works closely with the Special Intelligence Wing of the Odisha Police.

Punjab Armed Police[edit]

The Punjab Armed Police (PAP) have their headquarters at a base called PAP Jalandhar. This is where armed policemen of the Punjab are trained. Before the Border Security Force came into existence, PAP used to protect the most sensitive border of the country common with Pakistan. PAP Jawans have a number of international players in hockey, weight lifting, volleyball, kabaddi, etc. The campus is in a huge area and is complete in itself in the areas of housing, sports grounds, training equipment, halls, schools, hospital, swimming pool etc.

The operational PAP units are:

  • 7th Battalion, headquartered at PAP Jalandhar Cantt
  • 9th Battalion, headquartered at PAP Amritsar
  • 13th Battalion, headquartered at PAP Chandigarh
  • 27th Battalion, headquartered at PAP Jalandhar Cantt
  • 36th Battalion, headquartered at PAP Bahadurgarh Patiala
  • 75th Battalion, headquartered at PAP Jalandhar Cantt
  • 80th Battalion, headquartered at PAP Jalandhar Cantt
  • 82nd Battalion, headquartered at PAP Chandigarh

Rajasthan Armed Constabulary[edit]

Rajasthan's main state armed police are the Rajasthan Armed Constabulary (RAC). There is also another smaller armed unit called the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS). Each of these two forces is one of the eight "wings" of the Rajasthan Police. In addition to their other duties, the RAC are deployed to counter lawlessness in Rajasthan's dense forests, such as attacks on foresters, illegal grazing, illegal mining, and poaching.

Uttar Pradesh Provincial Armed Constabulary[edit]

In Uttar Pradesh, the Provincial Armed Constabulary or Pradeshik Armed Constabulary (PAC) is an armed reserve maintained at key locations across state and active only on orders from the deputy inspector general and higher-level authorities.[1] It is usually assigned to VIP duty or to maintain order during fairs, festivals, athletic events, elections, and natural disasters. They are also deployed to quell outbreaks of student or labor unrest, organised crime, and communal riots; to maintain key guard posts; and to participate in antiterrorist operations. The Provincial Armed Constabulary usually carries only lathis. UP-PAC consists of several battalions located in different cities across the state as a wing of Uttar Pradesh Police. Each battalion has seven to eight companies consisting of 150 to 200 Jawans. The PAC is headed by the Director General Provincial Armed Constabulary (DG PAC).[2][3]

West Bengal armed police forces[edit]

The state of West Bengal has the most extensive armed police organisation and structure in the country. Unlike other states of India, the state of West Bengal has two separate police jurisdictions, that of the West Bengal Police, and that of the Kolkata Police Force. It therefore has two separate state armed police structures, one for each jurisdiction.

Special forces of West Bengal are:

  1. STRACO Force
  2. Counter Insurgency Force (CIF) and
  3. Commando Force.

Eastern Frontier Rifles[edit]

The Eastern Frontier Rifles (EFR) is one of the state armed police force for the West Bengal Police, the other being the West Bengal Armed Police (WBAP). (i.e. as opposed to the police in Kolkata).


The Eastern Frontier Rifles were founded as the Frontier Protection Force by the East India Company at some point in the second half of the 18th century, and have had their current title since 1920. The Eastern Frontier Rifles fought in the Second World War, and, as the Bengal Military Police, in the First World War.

  • 18th century: Founded as Frontier Protection Force.
  • 1795: Renamed Ramgarh Local Battalion
  • 1861: Renamed Frontier Guards
  • 1891: Renamed Bengal Military Police, modernised, & given up-to-date weaponry (NB: An unrelated unit had previously used the same title)
  • 1920: Reorganised and renamed Eastern Frontier Rifles
  • 1947: The force was split between the Indian state of West Bengal, and Pakistan. The Pakistani part became the East Pakistan Rifles, which became the Bangladesh Rifles when Bangladesh became independent, and Border Guards Bangladesh in 2010. The West Bengal part retained its title of Eastern Frontier Rifles.

Recent events[edit]

Many contingents of EFR are kept deployed in various disturbed areas of the state. However, in recent years the force has used for day-to-day law & order duties. The headquarters of EFR at Salua, near Kharagpur.

Like the armed police forces of many states, the EFR are currently challenged with the naxalite insurgency. In February 2010 an EFR camp called Silda was attacked and burnt down by maoist rebels, resulting in 24 riflemen killed out of a detachment of about fifty. This resulted in condemnation of the state government by the EFR Special Inspector General, Benoy Chakraborty, who claimed his force was "mis-used" and "ill-treated". Morale in the force is believed to be low.[4]

Kolkata Armed Police[edit]

The Kolkata Armed Police (KAP) are West Bengal's state armed police force for operations in Kolkata. The KAF is part of the Kolkata Police Force and consists of eight battalions, and three special units. The special units are the Rapid Action force (RAF), the Special Action Force (SAF) (approx. 160 members) and the Commando Force (approximately 200 members) and also have Combat Force.

Mizoram Armed Police[edit]

The Mizoram Armed Police(MAP) consist of 3 battalions with 5 Indian Reserve Battalion. All these components make up the Mizoram Armed Police. Each battalion is commanded by a Commandant of rank Superintendent of Police / Deputy Commissioner of Police / Commandant. Each battalion also have a special commando/SWAT unit.


The Indian Ordnance Factories controlled by the Ordnance Factories Board, Ministry of Defence, Government of India are the sole suppliers of equipment to all the State Armed Police Forces.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Pradeshik Armed Constabulary". Retrieved 27 June 2016. 
  2. ^ "Gazette of India, part I, section 1". Government of India. 19 January 1957. p. 16. 
  3. ^ Official website Uttar Pradesh Police
  4. ^