A career in the police is one of the most prestigious jobs in the country and also establishes you in the position of privilege with a secured job. Many candidates want to get into the career of upholding the law and improving the lives of regular citizens. However, the vast list of rules, eligibility criteria, the application process, and many other factors may be confusing. Fortunately, this article is here to help so that you can prepare and get into the police force to serve the nation and its citizens.

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Duties and Responsibilities

As a member of the police force, you are responsible for the internal civil security of the country. You need to uphold the law and ensure an environment of peace throughout the nation. Here is a list of a few things that may fall into your job role as a police officer:

  • Respond to requests, emergency calls, and assist the public on various incidents.
  • Investigation of an incident that falls under your jurisdiction, collect evidence, record statements and do everything under legal regulations.
  • Take necessary action depending on the information received from informers or the general public.
  • Handle sensitive cases and situations of a sexual offense or sudden death with tact and wisdom.
  • Conduct patrol of your designated area on a bicycle, foot, or motor vehicle.
  • Compile and submit criminal intelligence reports.
  • Participate in road traffic incidents of traffic offenses, vehicle checkpoints, or collision scenes.

Qualifications necessary to become a police officer

If you want to become a police officer anywhere in the nation, you need to be an aspirant for the Indian Police Service (IPS). While the IPS recruitment is controlled by the Union government, the officers can be employed by both the Union and state governments. If you want to be employed in your state or any other specific state in the nation you need to become a part of the State Police Service (SPS). With satisfactory service in the SPS, you may also get nominated for an IPS job role.

Qualifications vary depending on your goal. While the qualifications are standardized for those who want to become a police officer under the central government, states have their own requirements.

However, in both cases, you need to be physically and mentally fit. You need to satisfy the requirements for weight, height, chest size, education, and a few other things.

Educational Eligibility

For IPS:

  • To be eligible for the IPS you need to be at least 21 years old and hold a Bachelor’s Degree from a recognized University.
  • For general category candidates the upper age limit is 32 years, for OBC the limit is relaxed to 35 years and for SC/ST it is relaxed to 37 years.

For SPS:

  • Depending on the rank and the state or union territory, the educational qualification necessary for SPS varies from holding a passing certificate for Class 12 to a Bachelor’s Degree from a recognized institution.
  • For the rank of constable, the age limit varies from 18 to 25 years and this figure gets bumped up for higher ranks like sub-inspectors.

Physical Qualification Standards 

While physical qualifications may vary as you move across state borders, you will satisfy most conditions as long as you can qualify for IPS. Here are the physical qualifications that are needed for IPS officers.

1. Height – Male candidates need to be 165cm tall and female candidates need to be at least 150cm in height.

For ST, Kumaonis, Gurkhas, and people from Nagaland the height requirement is relaxed to 160cm for males and 145 cm for female candidates.

2. Chest Girth – For male candidates, the chest girth needs to be 84cm when fully expanded and 79cm for female candidates.

3. Eyesight – For near vision, the jaeger score should be J1 for good eye and J2 for worst eye. The distant vision should be 6/6 or 6/9 for good eye and 6/12 or 6/9 for worst eye. You also need to have binocular vision and a high grade for color vision.

4. Hearing – You need to have good listening ability and a normal ear cavity. Your hearing impairment within the frequency range of 1000 to 4000 shouldn’t exceed 30 dB.

5. Nasal – There is also a nasal requirement. You should not stutter while speaking.

6. Blood Pressure – If you are below 25 years of age, you should have a systolic pressure of 100mm to 130mm and above that age limit, the requirements change to 110mm to 140mm. All candidates should have a diastolic pressure of less than 90mm.

Exams for getting recruited in the police force

There are two major exams to get into the police force. At the state level, there are various exams conducted by the Public Service Commission (PSC) of the respective state. For All India Service, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts exams to recruit officers and provide commanders for various high-ranking posts in the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) or the state police forces.

IPS Exam

An IPS officer can be recruited from:

  • Civil Services Examination conducted by UPSC, or
  • Promotion of SPS officers

There are three stages of the exam conducted by UPSC:

  • Civil Services Exam – Preliminary
  • Civil Services Exam – Main
  • UPSC Personality Test

Apart from the above-mentioned criteria, candidates must be:

  • An Indian citizen
  • They have 6 attempts to clear the examination and get recruited (Candidates who are not from the general category get more number of attempts)
  • Appointed IAS and IFS officers aren’t eligible

SPS Exam

These exams are conducted by the respective Public Service Examination of different states and hence there are no uniform criteria or exam structure as you cross borders. However, most of them also have different stages, including Preliminary, Mains, and Physical Efficiency Test.

Constable Exams

If you want to apply for the low rank of a police constable, you need to pass the 12th board exam from a recognized institution and attend one of the State-level Police Constable Exams. There are usually more vacancies for these positions every year compared to officer rank and you have a higher probability of getting recruited as a constable compared to a police officer of higher rank.

Selection Process

To appear in the state PSC or UPSC exam you need to fill up the online form after the exam notification is announced on the respective government website. Once you go through the various stages of the exam, you have to go through a medical test and in some cases, you need to go through a physical efficiency test.

Before you get recruited into the force, you also have to go through rigorous training. IPS officers are trained in the prestigious Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel National Academy in Hyderabad. Once you go through training and graduate from the academy, you are sent to one of your preferred zones to be recruited in your position.

There are five zones in the nation:

  • Zone – 1 consists of states like Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram as well as the union territories.
  • Zone – 2 consists of states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Odisha
  • Zone – 3 includes Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, and Maharashtra
  • Zone – 4 has West Bengal, Sikkim, and some north-eastern states like Manipur, Tripura, and Nagaland
  • Zone – 5 includes southern states like Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala 

Tips for the Exam

The syllabus for the exam is vast and since it is one of the most difficult exams in the country, it demands a lot from the candidates.

For the Prelims:

  • You need to have a good grasp of logic to clear the aptitude test
  • You need to know about the subjects of the General Studies test as well. They include History, Geography, Economy and Current Affairs

For the Mains:

  • Any of the Modern Indian Languages
  • English language
  • General Studies including subjects like History, Geography, Ethics, Integrity, Economy, Technology and more
  • You also need to have a thorough grasp of the subjects you prefer for the two optional papers

For the Interview:

  • You need to be alert and witty during the interview since your mental caliber is judged during this phase. Everything including your logical assessments and balance of judgment is tested.
  • You will also be tested on your leadership quality, depth of interest, and the ability for social cohesion

For physical efficiency test:

  • The physical efficiency test is the least of your worries if you get regular exercise
  • Do laps of a few kilometers every morning and time yourself to improve over time

Salary Structure

For newly appointed IPS officers, there would be no system of Pay Grades. Instead, you get Consolidated Pay Levels according to the 7th pay Commission as follows:

IPS ranks in Central or State PoliceDelhi Police Equivalent PositionSalary according to 7th Pay Commission(INR)
Director-General of Police/ Director of CBI/IBCommissioner of Police2,25,000
Director General(DG) of PoliceSpecial Commissioner of Police2,05,400
Inspector General(IG) of PoliceJoint Commissioner of Police1,44,200
Deputy Inspector General(DIG) of PoliceAdditional Commissioner of Police1,31,100
Senior Superintendent of Police(SSP)Deputy Commissioner of Police78,800
Additional Superintendent of PoliceAdditional Deputy Commissioner of Police67,700
Deputy Superintendent of PoliceAssistant Commissioner of Police56,100