Delhi has a long history of policing throughthe famed institution of the Kotwal. Malikul Umara Faqruddin is said to be thefirst Kotwal of Delhi. He became the Kotwal at the age of 40 in 1237 A.D. andwas also simultaneously appointed as the Naibe-Ghibat (Regent in absence).Because of his integrity and sagacity he had a very long tenure, holding thepost through the reigions of three Sultans Balban, Kaikobad and Kaikhusrau. Onone occasion when some Turkish nobles had approached him to secure the withdrawalof Balban’s order. confiscating their estates, the Kotwal is recorded to havesaid, “My words will carry no weight if I accept any bribe from you. It ispresumed that the Kotwal, or Police Head quarters was then located at Qila RaiPithora or today’s Mehrauli.
Another Kotwalmentioned in history books is Malik Alaul Mulk, who was appointed by SultanAllauddin Khilji in 1297 AD. Sultan Alauddin Khilji once said of him, “Hedeserves the Wizarat (Prime Ministership) but I have appointed him only the Kotwalof Delhi on account of’ his incapacitating corpulence.”
When EmperorShahjahan shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi, in 1648, he appointed Ghaznafar Khan as the firstKotwal of the new city,bestowing on him also the very important office of Mir-i-Atish (Chief ofArtillery).
The institution ofKotwal came to an end with the crushing of the revolt of 1857, the first war offreedom by the British and, interestingly, the last Kotwal of Delhi, appointedjust before the eruption of the first war of freedom, was Gangadhar Nehru,father of Pandit Motilal Nehru and grand father of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru,India’s first Prime Minister
AN ORGANISED SET-UP
An organised formof policing was established by the British after the first war of freedom of1857, with the adoption of the Indian Police Act of 1861. Delhibeing a part of the Punjab, remained a unit ofthe Punjab Police even after becoming the Capital of India in 1912. In the sameyear, the first ChiefCommissioner of Delhiwas appointed and was vested with the powers and functions of the InspectorGeneral of Police.
According to the1912 Gazette, Delhi District was under the control of a DIG of Police with hisheadquarters at Ambala. The police force in the Delhi district, however, was commanded by aSuperintendent and a DeputySuperintendent of Police. The total composition of the forcethen was two Inspectors, 27 Sub-inspectors, 110 Head Constables, 985 FootConstables and 28 Sawars. In the city the rural police was in the charge of twoInspectors with their headquarters at Sonepat and Ballabgarh respectively with10 police stations.
In addition, therewere 7 outposts and four ‘road posts’.
In the city therewere three Iarge police stations of Kotwali, Subzi Mandi and Paharganj. In theCivil Lines, there were spacious police barracks where the Reserve, ArmedReserve and recruits were accommodated.
Delhi Police wasreorganised in 1946 when its strength was almost doubled. I n the wake ofpartition, a large influx of refugee population rolled in and there was a sharprise in crime in 1948. It was on February 16, 1948 that the first IGP of Delhiwas appointed and the total strength of Delhi Police was increased by 1951 toabout 8,000 with one Inspector General of Police and eight Superintendents ofPolice. A post of Deputy Inspector General of Police was created in 1956. Withthe rise in the population of Delhi,the strength of Delhi Police kept on increasing and in the year 1961, it wasover 12,000. Presently, the sanctioned strength of Delhi Police is 83,762.
In the year 1966,the Government of India constituted the Delhi Police Commission headed byJustice G.D.Khosla to go into the Problems faced by Delhi Police and it was onthe basis of the Khosla Commission Report that the Delhi Police was once againreorganised. Four Police districts, namely, North, Central, South and New Delhi wereconstituted. The Delhi Police Commission also recommended the introduction ofPolice Commissioner System which was eventually adopted from July 1,1978.
The population of Delhi and the attendantproblems of policing kept on multiplying and following the recommendations ofthe Srivastava Committee, the strength of Delhi Police was increased to thepresent level of above 76,000. At present, there are 6 ranges, 11 districts and184 police stations in Delhi.Today, Delhi Police is perhaps the largest metropolitan police in the world,larger than London, Paris,New York and Tokyo.