The Indian Police Service (IPS) is part of the Indian Civil Services that consist of 27 services organised into two main sections — the All India Services and the Central Services. IPS is an all-India Service, entry to which is through one of the most difficult examinations conducted by the UPSC. Officers of all India services, on appointment by the Indian government, are allotted to different state governments. The IPS officers are responsible for the safety and security of the public. They mainly take care of the law and order, crime prevention and detection, traffic control and accident prevention and management, etc.
What do they do?
Meenu Chaudhary, 35, daughter of a retired chief engineer from the Military Engineering Service, joined the Indian Police Service (IPS) in the year 2000. She is an Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territories (AGMUT) cadre officer. A BA (Honours) in sociology and an MBA, Chaudhary had always wanted to be a civil servant. “My father wanted me to join the civil services and I grew up with this thought in mind,” she says. Chaudhary made it a point not to appear for any placement interviews after completing her MBA in 1998 and before writing the Civil Service exam in 1999. Her optional paper in the preliminary exam was sociology; and the two papers she chose for the mains were public administration and sociology.
“The IPS is mainly responsible for the internal security of the country, maintenance of law and order, control and detection of crime and ensuring peace by enforcing the law of the land,” says Chaudhary, now an additional deputy commissioner of police (Addl DCP), central district. Unlike other services, a lot of power is vested with an IPS officer, “like ensuring instant justice for an aggrieved person,” says Chaudhry. “Criminal justice will take its own course but if a distressed person comes to us we can provide immediate relief to him or her, thus making a difference to society,” she adds. And it is this zeal to serve the society that finally made her choose the IPS.
“The scope of work of an IPS officer is unlimited,” says Dr PM Nair, inspector general of police (operations), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). “In the domain of public service, the sky is the limit,” he points out.
Says Parmaditya, additional DCP, south west, duties of IPS officers could include “traffic management; arranging security for VIPs; border policing; railway policing; tackling corruption in public life; counter-terrorism, checking smuggling, drug trafficking, and economic offences and helping in disaster management. They could be leading and commanding Indian intelligence agencies such as the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Central
Bureau of Investigation (CBI), etc, or the paramilitary forces of India, like the Border Security Force (BSF), CRPF, Indo-Tibetan Border police (ITBP), etc.
They can also serve as heads of departments under various Central and state government ministries and public sector undertakings and interact and co-ordinate with members of other all-India services and Central Civil services or the Indian Armed Forces.”
The work is both challenging and strenuous. “At times one has to work continuously for months without any break — even on national holidays and festivals,” says Sagarpreet Hooda, DCP, north. “ But that’s life for IPS officers and in the process he/she learns to enjoy his/her work,” he adds.
In recent times, “terrorist threats have become one of the major challenges for an IPS officer,” says Sharad Agarawal, DCP, west. Add to this the “rising white collar and cyber crime” and “high expectations of the public”, and you will find that the plate of an IPS officer is always full, he adds.
But officers are expected to “lead by example and their conduct must be above board,” says Hooda.
. One has to be hard working, have strong will power and determination
. Must have clarity of thought and an ability to analyse a situation to take a just decision
. Must be sensitive to the aspirations of people
. Must have good listening and communication skills
. Thorough grounding in the law of the land
. Despite the demands of the job one has to focus on physical fitness and stay mentally alert
How do I get there?
For becoming an IPS officer one has to appear in the Civil Service Examination. Anyone who is an Indian citizen and a graduate in any discipline can appear for the exam, a three-stage competitive selection process consisting of a preliminary exam, a main exam, and an interview, conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The preliminary examination has general studies and one optional subject. Candidates clearing this can appear for the mains, which includes two optional subjects, and papers in general studies, essay, compulsory language and English language. Those qualifying the mains have to appear for an interview. If a candidate qualifies at this stage, he or she is selected for the Civil Services and allocated the service — namely IAS, IPS, etc — on the basis of merit.