Indian Police Service (IPS)

  1. Introduction
  2. About the Civil Services Examination
  3. About Training at National Police Academy, Hyderabad (Phase 1)
  4. About District Practical Training (DPT)
  5. About Training at National Police Academy, Hyderabad (Phase 2)
  6. About Posting In Your Cadre
  7. Some pros of IPS
  8. About life of an IPS Officer


IPS or Indian Police Service is an All India Service (AIS) out of the three AIS services (the other two being Indian Administrative Service – IAS and Indian Forest Service – IFS). Before independence, a different version of IPS existed which was called Indian Imperial Police. IPS replaces Indian Imperial Police in 1948. Officers belonging to IPS man senior posts at Union and State offices. They also go on deputation to various Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and generally provide leadership roles there also.

The Indian Councils Act, 1861 introduced by British Government in 1861 laid down the foundation of the modern day police bureaucracy in India by introducing Superior Police Services, which later came to be known as the Indian Imperial Police. An Inspector General was to be the senior-most police officer in each province.

The police commission under Sir Andrew Fraser and Lord Curzon recommended the appointment of Indians at officer level in the police. Thus Indians could rise to the ranks of Inspector of police, but they were not part of Indian Imperial Police. Since then, we have come a long way to today where every year 150 candidates get selected into the service based on the Civil Services Examination (CSE) conducted by Union Public Service Commission. The examination process is itself a year long process.

Roles and Responsibilities of Indian Police Service (as per document available here):

  • To fulfill duties based on border responsibilities, in the areas of maintenance of public peace and order, crime prevention, investigation, and detection, collection of intelligence, VIP security, counter-terrorism, border policing, railway policing, tackling smuggling, drug trafficking, economic offences, corruption in public life, disaster management, enforcement of socio-economic legislation, bio-diversity and protection of environmental laws etc.
  • Leading and commanding the Indian Intelligence Agencies like Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI), Criminal Investigation Department (CID) etc., Indian Federal Law Enforcement Agencies, Civil and Armed Police Forces in all the states and union territories.
  • Leading and commanding the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) which include the Central Police Organisations (CPO) and Central Paramilitary Forces (CPF) such as Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), National Security Guard (NSG), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Vigilance Organisations, Indian Federal Law Enforcement Agencies.
  • Serve as head of the departments in policy making in the Ministries and Departments of Central and State Governments and public sector undertakings both at centre and states, Government of India.
  • To interact and coordinate closely with the members of other All India Services and also with the Indian Armed Forces primarily with the Indian Army.
  • Last but not the least, to lead and command the force with courage, uprightness, dedication and a strong sense of service to the people.
  • Endeavour to inculcate in the police forces under their command such values and norms as would help them serve the people better.
  • Inculcate integrity of the highest order, sensitivity to aspirations of people in a fast-changing social and economic milieu, respect for human rights, broad liberal perspective of law and justice and high standard of professionalism.

Here’s everything that you might want to know about IPS – from preparation for the Civil Services Examination to finally getting posted on field.

About the Civil Services Examination

Every year, you have to start afresh with the examination. Preliminary scores do not count in mains. They’re just to shortlist people for mains. Final merit is based on mains + interview marks.

About the preparation for Civil Services Examination:

This is a very testing phase. This requires persistent efforts. There is no specific period of time for which you need to study or have coaching classes to succeed in the exam. I have seen people study 6 hours a day for 4 months making it to the list. On the other hand, I have seen people studying 10 hours a day for years not making it to the final list.

People will often say that you need to get coaching classes to succeed in the examination. But if you ask a successful UPSC CSE candidate, there is something even more important than coaching classes – good guidance.

That’s what is usually provided by coaching classes. If you are able to get it outside coaching class, you have absolutely no need of going to a class. The minimal money you’ll need to spend will be on some books or notes.

People often ask which is the best coaching institute, in Delhi or elsewhere. None of the coaching institutes is the best one. They all have parts that are best ones in the market. Join any institute if you plan on joining one, and grab notes of the other from the market. In the end, it is your personal efforts that matter the most.

Civil Services Examination is a territory of uncertainties. Only 1 thousand of the 10 lakh who fill the form get selected finally. So, for worst case scenario, do have a backup plan.

During examination process, you have to fill a form called DAF (Detailed Application Form). Here you fill in your service and cadre preferences. You are allotted your cadre and service based on merit and then as per your service and cadre preferences.

UPSC CSE is difficult because of following reasons:

  • Vast syllabus
  • Fierce competition
  • Less number of posts
  • Margin to commit errors is less
  • Amount of preparation needed
  • Consistent hard work needed for years and months
  • Lot of mental toughness needed to stay on track for years and months

UPSC is a mature body. There used to be a time (about atleast a decade or two back) when the type of questions asked in preliminary examinations used to be too objective, with many of them being knowledge based. Even now some questions do come that are knowledge based, but the number is quite less.

The UPSC notification always says a thing about the preliminary examination:

No special knowledge/study is needed to clear the examination if you’re an aware person.

If you did all your studies diligently in school classes, if you’re studying the newspaper everyday, and not just reading it, then there is very high probability that you can even clear the preliminary examination without any coaching or special notes.

The Mains examination is understanding based. The vast amount of knowledge you have doesn’t imply that you’ll be successful in clearing it. You need clearer understanding of issues – that is why people stress on NCERT books as they clear basic understanding first. Anyways, these days understanding based questions are coming more.

Interview isn’t a test of knowledge. UPSC has already tested your knowledge in preliminary and mains examinations.

The official name for interview is “Interview for personality test”, and that is what it is. No knowledge tested again – they test your personality through the kind of questions they ask you.

You are allotted your service and cadre on the basis of merit as per the preferences that you fill in the Detailed Application Form (DAF) for UPSC. The cadre allocation policy was changed in 2017 and is available here.

Challenges lie at every step. Some of the challenges are:

  • The challenge of making up your mind to venture into the uncertain field of Civil Services Examination, at times without a “Plan B”.
  • The challenge to get hold of basics in the first few days of your preparation.
  • Then the challenge to build more and more upon your basics.
  • The challenge to study for so many hours every day for months or years at a stretch.
  • The challenge to stay apart from family and friends for so much time to focus on your studies.
  • The challenge to finish up your syllabus to the maximum (Never is the syllabus finished 100% by anyone).
  • Side by side, you have the challenge of not giving up on the preparation or yourself. You’re allowed to get bored, but not allowed to be disheartened.
  • The challenges are many and road is uphill, but if you stand tall in the face of such challenges, success will be yours.

About Training at National Police Academy, Hyderabad (Phase 1)

Training period of an IPS probationer is 104 weeks exactly (or 2 years), which includes:

  • 3 months Foundation Course
  • 10 months Training at National Police Academy, Hyderabad
  • 2 months of attachments here and there with various forces.
  • 6 month District Practical Training in your allocated cadre.
  • 2 months of phase 2 training in Hyderabad again.
  • Rest one month is holidays in a group of 7 days each time at various times during training.

Your shirt/trouser size is taken and uniform is stitched (2 normal khakhi uniform, 1 cotton uniform for drill/parade, 2 jungle/combat uniform, etc) in initial days. You get shoes, cap, socks, PT/Sports dress, belt, etc accessories from SVPNPA canteen called Suraksha Plaza at subsidised rates.

Training begins in NPA in December month. You report on a Sunday mostly and training starts from the very next day. Before you even reach NPA, all IPS probationers are divided into groups. These groups are there for a week. Outdoors are light for this first week. In this first week, your physical proficiency is tested by various tests and bases on these tests, squads are formed after the first week. These squads remain there till the end of Phase-1 of training. Your daily physical activities are held in squads and most of attachments are also done on squad basis.

So, over a period of a year, you develop bonding with your squad members, a bond which lasts for a lifetime in most cases. This is more true in case of your buddy.

In every squad, every member has a buddy. So, a squad of 20 people will have 10 buddy-pairs. These buddy pairs are responsible for each other during training (especially outdoors and attachments).

  • Morning schedule begins quite early in NPA. You have to report down outside IPS mess for fall-in (i.e. reporting into your respective groups or squads as we call it) at 5:25. So you get up accordingly. Ohh yeah, guys have to shave every day. That’s the one thing checked daily. Girls have to tie their hair into a bun and wear a mesh on the bun.
  • Daily different outdoor activities are held in morning like running/pt on one day, horse riding on another, drill/parade on another, etc. Every kind of activity has a uniform associated with it. These activities are held in 2 sessions with a break of 10-15 minutes in between. You may need to change your uniform after one session. You get free around 7:30am.
  • You get fresh and have (a heavy) breakfast then.
  • Indoor classes start from 9-1:30pm on various subjects like CrPC, IPC, Evidence act, Ethics, Management, etc.
  • Lunch break from 1:30-3.
  • Then outdoors again from 3-4:40.
  • Then 15 min break to change.
  • Then games till 5:30.

In summers, post lunch schedule is delayed by an hour because of heat.

Also, once you are alloted your cadres, you have to attend 40 minutes language class during the lunch break.

Training given to all IPS officers is the same (though time constraints are relaxed a bit for ladies in certain outdoors). It includes:


  • CrPC
  • IPC
  • Evidence Act
  • Ethics
  • Management
  • Forensics
  • Cadre language
  • etc


  • Running
  • PT
  • Equitation/Horse Riding
  • Swimming
  • Obstacle Course
  • Cross Country Races (upto 16km)
  • Route March (upto 42km)
  • Firing
  • Drill/Parade
  • Yoga
  • Medical Emergencies
  • Tactics (major focus since Mumbai attacks)
  • Sports/games


  • On Saturdays you have half day with no outdoors. You have to do Swacch Bharat work on Saturday morning.
  • There are formal dinners with senior faculty at times which extend upto 10-11pm.
  • There are attachments to various places like Mussoorie for ITBP, Indore for BSF, Army, etc.
  • Also, there are attachments for learning elections etc where you visit place where elections are going on.
  • Also, you have to have a minimum attendance of 90% in indoors and 95% in outdoors to write exams. So, you cover up any missed classes on Saturday/Sunday.
  • 2 week Bharat Darshan is also there where you visit some states.
  • Also, there’s certain time beyond which you cannot remain outside academy.
  • Also, you don’t get leave easily except in exceptional circumstances.
  • Sunday is a holiday – but it is also taken up at times as some personality might not be able to give time otherwise.

You, as an IPS Probationer, are easily identifiable by your haircut etc or by the fact that you go out in groups or that you are accompanied by some uniformed personnel when you go in a group. Thus you’ll get good reception from local police. But that doesn’t mean you can abuse this fact. The personnel who go with you won’t let you abuse this fact and will report the same if you do so. You’re meant to be an officer who doesn’t misuse his stature.

Regarding leaving academy:

  • Generally IPS Probationers are not allowed to leave academy for personal reasons, until and unless it is an emergency or due to a special reason. (e.g. Someone in family died, your own marriage, getting admitted to hospital, etc)
  • On a daily basis, you go outside academy only within the time limits prescribed by the academy authorities (varies every year).
  • You’re officially not in academy if you are going on some attachment to some other place.

About District Practical Training (DPT)

After Phase-1 of training at NPA, you report to your cadre at the State Police Academy. State-specific training is done there for generally about a month. In this time, you are allotted your districts for training. After training at State Police Academy, you leave for your district and report to your District SP. There training is done regarding:

  • District Police Office
  • Police Lines
  • Reserve Office
  • Circle Inspector
  • Urban Police Station
  • Rural Police Station (here you generally take charge as SHO – Station House Officer and investigate some cases).
  • Sub-Divisional Police Office (this is important as SDPO is the first posting an IPS gets in a district).
  • etc…

During this time, you generally have a direct access to the SP and other officials of the district as they will be very much interested in your training.

About Training at National Police Academy, Hyderabad (Phase 2)

After your training in District, you report back to NPA Hyderabad. Training is similar to Phase-1 except that:

  • There is not as much stress on outdoors as there is during Phase-1.
  • In indoors, there is more focus on things you observed and learnt during your district training. Every probationer has to give a presentation regarding the same.

This is perhaps the last time when you get to meet all your batchmates at a place. Here, you also visit a foreign country for about a week. It varies from batch to batch during basic course training. Israel has been place of choice recently for last few batches though.

About Posting In Your Cadre

Once you’re allotted a cadre (which happens after results of UPSC CSE come out), you’ve to serve in the same cadre till your retirement. There are a few exceptions though:

  • You can go on central deputation or to another cadre for some years but after the deputation period is over, then you have to get back to your cadre.
  • You can change your cadre if you have spouse in another cadre. But here, your cadre has to give clearance to relieve you and the accepting cadre has to give clearance to accept you.
  • Based on extreme medical conditions or threat perception to your life, your cadre can be allowed to be changed.

The progression in service is as follows:

  • ASP (Under Training) or ACP (Under Training)
  • ASP (or better known as Sub Divisional Police Officer – SDPO) or ACP in Commissionerates
  • Additional Superintendent of Police or Additional DCP in Commissionerates
  • Superintendent of Police or DCP in Commissionerates
  • Senior Superintendent of Police
  • Deputy Inspector General of Police or Joint CP in Commissionerates
  • Inspector General of Police or Additional CP in Commissionerates
  • Additional Director General of Police or Special CP in Commissionerates
  • Director General of Police or Commissioner of Police in Commissionerates
  • Director of Intelligence Bureau (highest ranked IPS officer in Country)

At state level, the highest post is that of Director General of Police. At union level, the highest post is that of Director of Intelligence Bureau.

Also, there may be some commissionerates where CP is may be of a lower rank than Director General of Police.

Besides, the current National Security Advisor (NSA) Mr. Ajit Doval is an IPS Officer. It is one of the strongest post in the country presently.

Some pros of IPS

  • Respect and dignity of working in one of the premier service/job in the nation.
  • Satisfaction of giving people justice in an instant.
  • People look up to you in their toughest of times, and they will not believe that police officials themselves go through such tough times themselves each day. The best part is that you solve such of people’s problems.
  • Perquisites like government quarter, government vehicle, etc.
  • Affecting the life of people in many ways – policing is not the only thing police does. It undertakes lot of social responsibilities like interacting with schoolchildren, old age people, organising self defence classes for women, etc. Police touches life of people every single day in a hundred ways (probably more than hundred actually).
  • Job security.

About life of an IPS Officer

One word answer: Challenging.

Detailed answer:

We often hear that policing is a thankless job, where the good works done by us are often skipped & forgotten and mistakes highlighted. We are the ones who have to jump into the gutters of crime & corruption and emerge out spotless. We do not hesitate from doing this because

Police is not a job, it is a service, hence it is called IPS.

I’ll like to tell you about the daily schedule of a police officer. There is no schedule actually! It is because Crimes and Law & Order situations don’t see time or place. So, we have to be always ready to spring into action. You might be having a party on your kid’s birthday or travelling to your parents when you will get a call regarding some major Crime or Law & Order situation, and you’ll have to cancel everything and rush to there.

To understand the life of an IPS officer, you need to have an idea of what all work police personnel do. It includes:

  • Crime Prevention
  • Crime Detection
  • Investigation
  • Law & Order duty
  • Providing security at various political & governmental programmes
  • Providing security at important places like banks
  • Court and Prison duty
  • Travelling to other districts/states to catch criminals
  • Pilot duty when VIPs are travelling
  • Security of senior officials
  • … and the list goes on and on endlessly.

Further, the posts and related work are:

  • As an IPS officer, you are first posted as Assitant SP (Under Training) where you learn real on-field policing by having attachments with SP, Addl. SP, Assistant SP, Police Lines, SP Office, etc. Here you are supposed to learn, but it is not uncommon to be given important responsibilities during this time to test your mettle.
  • Then you’re posted as Sub-Divisional Police Officer at ASP rank where you handle a sub-division. This is the first field posting an IPS gets.
  • Then you’re posted as Additional SP where you handle one of the Zones of a district or handle some special duty as the case may be.
  • Then comes the most important post in IPS, i.e. SP, where you are responsible for the functioning of an entire district. It is here that the mettle of an IPS officer is proved.
  • Senior ranks are more or less supervisory (though no less important) going from the ranks- DIG, IG, ADGP, DGP.

Now, regarding the kind of life, it is challenging because:

  • you effectively have no schedule
  • you have to do things spontaneously at times
  • deadlines are always near
  • you need to do all the works mentioned above
  • you need to maintain a balance between work and family
  • you need to entertain politicians too
  • people and media will say that you failed to prevent a crime that happened inside 4 walls of a house
  • the force working under you is understaffed and over-burdened and lack motivation at times due to the same
  • sometimes you are not able to do things no matter how hard you try, because crime won’t stop happening
  • rallies and processions will keep on happening, because the duties police does (as mentioned above), keep on increasing.
  • There will be times when people will point their fingers at you, but you cannot be demotivated, because policing never stops.
  • There will be times when even your good deeds will be questioned, but you cannot let that stop you.
  • There will be times when people will question the honesty of entire police fraternity when one of them does something wrong.
  • You have to run faster than Usain Bolt to catch criminals in situation, so you’ve to be physically fit.
  • You have to be able to sleep for only 2-3 hours for days at stretch (or have sleepless nights too at times) due to ground situations, and then still attend meeting the next morning.
  • You have to be able to look into the eyes of victims and assure them that things will be alright.
  • You have to have knowledge of science, forensics, mechanical engineering, management, history, geography, etc to handle situations at times.
  • You have to remember the CrPC and IPC in detail so that you don’t commit any errors while doing your duty. Besides, you have to have knowledge of every minor act that is passed by Union as well as State government so that you prosecute criminals under correct Law and Correct Sections of the Law.
  • You have to listen to abuses of people even if 2 out of 1000 don’t like the work that you’re doing.

But it is satisfying because:

  • You have the power to give instant justice to an aggrieved person, and people respect your Khakhi uniform for that.
  • No matter what situation happened – be it crime, law & order, natural disaster, accident, civil dispute, any function, family disputes, any other emergency, people turn to you – because they trust you, because they know that police will do the work no matter what it is.
  • You know that by the work that you do, you’re making the lives of people easier, even if your personal life is being sacrificed while doing that.
  • There have been many cases that I’ve seen personally when general public wrote appreciation letters to the SP praising the good work done by police personnel, but this (sadly) goes unnoticed by the general public (and media).
  • It is easy to point out problems in something, but it takes guts to set those things right – and police has the guts to do so.

For Wikipedia entry on Indian Police Service, click here.

For more articles in Policepedia, click here.

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