Career as Police Officer

Last Updated By Subhashri Roy on 14 Aug, 2023

How to Become a Police Officer

About Police Officer

Becoming a Police Officer in India holds immense importance and serves as an opportunity to serve and protect the community, ensuring law and order prevail. In a nation grappling with various challenges related to crime, corruption, and security, the role of police officers becomes increasingly crucial. 

Police officers in India are instrumental in maintaining public safety, enforcing laws, and safeguarding the rights of citizens. By choosing to become a police officer, individuals can directly contribute to society, upholding justice and promoting a sense of security. This esteemed profession requires dedication, courage, and a strong sense of responsibility, making it an imperative choice for those aspiring to contribute to the well-being of their fellow citizens.

Who is a Police Officer?

The police force is a ubiquitous institution in society, with policemen serving as the most prominent representatives of the government. During times of need, danger, crisis, or uncertainty, citizens instinctively seek help from the police station and its officers. In any community, the police are expected to be highly accessible, interactive, and adaptable.

Police officers are essentially entrusted with two primary responsibilities: upholding law and order. However, these obligations encompass a wide range of tasks, functions, powers, and responsibilities, culminating in an extensive array of duties within the police organization. Their roles, functions, and duties are inherently diverse and intricate, involving a myriad of responsibilities. They are tasked with upholding and enforcing the law in an impartial manner, safeguarding the life, liberty, property, human rights, and dignity of the public.

Furthermore, the police work to promote and maintain public order while protecting internal security and preventing acts of terrorism, communal disharmony, and militant activities. They also play a crucial role in protecting public properties, vital installations, roads, and railways against acts of vandalism and violence.

Crime prevention remains a significant aspect of their duties, which they achieve through proactive measures and cooperation with other relevant agencies. Handling complaints is an essential part of their job, as they promptly register and investigate cognizable offenses, providing support and assistance to victims and ensuring the prosecution of offenders. Additionally, the police foster a sense of security in the community, assist in disaster situations, regulate traffic, gather intelligence related to public peace and security matters, manage unclaimed property, and prioritize the training, motivation, and welfare of their personnel.

Highlights of Career as a Police Officer




Completion of 12th grade from any recognized board examinations, such as SSC or CSE.


Crime and Investigation

Average Starting Salary

INR 3.67 LPA

Highest Salary


Top Recruiters

CBI, CID, and other government departments

How to Become a Police Officer in India

The process of joining the police force offers various options, and candidates can find suitable paths based on their qualifications and career aspirations. Additionally, they need to successfully clear the entrance exams based on their chosen designations. These entrance exams include SSC GD Constable Entrance Exams, State Police Constable Exams, SSC CPO Exam, and UPSC CSE (for IPS).

Exam Required to Become Police Officer in India

Police exams in India are categorized based on the division of the police force into central and state government units. Each state has its own police force responsible for maintaining law and order and ensuring citizen safety. The central government also controls several police forces, but the authority over police exams typically lies with the state government.

In the case of union territories, the central government oversees the police exams through their appointed governors or administrators. The police hierarchy within the state government consists of four levels: IPS (Central level), SPS (state level), Upper subordinate level, and Constabulary.

Recruitment into the Indian police force through police exams follows a similar hierarchical pattern across various states. Below is the outline of the Indian police recruitment process for different levels of police exams according to the hierarchy:

Constabulary: In India, the recruitment process for police constable positions is conducted through state government police exams. The constabulary division comprises three levels of officials:

·   Sepoy/Home Guard

·   Constable

·   Head Constable

State Police Constable Exam: Aspiring candidates interested in pursuing police constable jobs after completing their 12th-grade education need to be familiar with the state government police exam for constables. The entrance assessment for recruiting constables and home guards within the Indian police force is administered by the state government. The eligibility criteria may differ slightly between states.

SSC GD Constable Exam: The central government conducts the SSC GD Constable Exam for recruitment into various special forces, such as BSF, CAPF, CRPF, CISF, and others that fall under the purview of the central government.

CAPF Exam: The CAPF exam is aimed at selecting Assistant Commandants for the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), which include the Border Security Force (BSF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to name a few.

SSC CPO Exam: The Staff Selection Commission conducts the SSC CPO Exam for the recruitment of sub-inspectors of police in India. This police exam is open only to graduate candidates. As part of the selection process, candidates must first pass the physical endurance test before proceeding to the written test.

State Public Service Commission Exam: The recruitment process for the positions of SSP, SP, and DSP is commonly conducted by the State Public Service Commission. Some well-known state public service examinations include MPPSC, UPPSC, RPSC RAS, and others. The State Public Service Commission exams are conducted by the respective state governments. The State Public Service Commission emphasizes mainly on general knowledge specific to the state and its law and order.

UPSC Exam: The UPSC exam for recruiting police officers into the IPS cadre typically follows a four-step process. Nonetheless, candidates are strongly advised to verify the specific rules and regulations of their respective states before contemplating the application for the police exam.

How to Become a Police Officer Abroad

Exploring the possibility of becoming a police officer overseas can be an exhilarating yet demanding path to embark upon. It requires navigating legal requirements, cultural differences, and potential language barriers. While the specific process and eligibility requirements vary from country to country, there are general steps you can follow to pursue a career in law enforcement abroad. Here is a concise outline of these key steps:

  • Research and Select the Destination Country: Explore different countries where you are interested in becoming a police officer. Consider language, culture, living conditions, political stability, and the reputation of their law enforcement agencies. Take note of any language requirements and be prepared to learn the local language if necessary.
  • Check Eligibility Criteria: Understand the specific eligibility criteria for foreign candidates in each country. These criteria may include age limits, educational qualifications, physical fitness standards, and citizenship or residency requirements. Ensure you meet all necessary prerequisites before proceeding.
  • Obtain Necessary Documents: Gather all required documents such as your passport, academic records, birth certificate, and any other certificates or qualifications needed to prove your eligibility. It may also be wise to obtain a criminal background check to demonstrate your clean record.
  • Language Proficiency: If the destination country has a different primary language than your native language, you may need to demonstrate proficiency in that language. This could involve taking language proficiency tests like TOEFL or IELTS, depending on the country's requirements.
  • Research the Police Recruitment Process: Understand the recruitment process specific to the country and city you are interested in. This process may involve written exams, physical fitness tests, interviews, medical evaluations, and psychological assessments. Prepare yourself accordingly to perform well at each stage.
  • Gain Relevant Experience: Having prior law enforcement experience or a background in related fields like security, military, or criminal justice can be beneficial during the application process. If you lack experience, consider volunteering, interning, or taking relevant courses to boost your qualifications.
  • Contact the Police Department: Get in touch with the police department or relevant authorities in the destination country to inquire about the application process and express your interest. They may provide valuable information and guidance for foreign applicants.
  • Apply for a Visa and Work Permit: Once selected as a police officer, you will need to apply for a work visa or residence permit in the destination country. The requirements for this step can vary significantly depending on the country's immigration laws, so it's crucial to comply with all regulations.

How to Become a Police Officer After Class 12

After successfully passing the Class 12 board examinations, students become eligible to apply for various positions as police officers, including Constable and Head Constable. A graduate degree is not mandatory for the role of a constable; however, clearing the relevant entry tests is essential for these positions. The following table outlines the different jobs and requirements to become a police officer after passing the Class 12 board examinations:


Educational Requirement

Entry Test Requirement


Class 12 board examinations

Relevant entry test

Head Constable

Class 12 board examinations

Relevant entry test

How to Become a Police Officer After Graduation

After completing graduation in any subject, candidates become eligible to pursue higher designations as Police Officers. The police force provides various opportunities for advancement, including roles such as Superintendent of Police, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Assistant Commissioner of Police, and more, accessible to those who pass the UPSC or IPS Entrance Exams. Below is a table containing some of the prominent positions that can be applied for after clearing state- or center-based entrance tests:


Entrance Exams

Superintendent of Police


Deputy Superintendent of Police


Assistant Commissioner of Police


Sub Inspector


Assistant Sub Inspector


Please note that not all designations have specific entrance exams mentioned, and the requirements may vary based on the state or central police force.

Eligibility to become Police Officer

Becoming a police officer is a multifaceted process and one needs to be clear as to which rank the candidate wants to pursue. The foundation for this career ideally lies within the educational system, with a minimum requirement of completing class 12 to join the Indian Police Force.

How to Become a Police Officer: Education Qualification

If you aspire to become an SP/ASP, completing your graduation and passing the IPS recruiting exam is necessary. Similarly, to become a DSP/AC, you must possess a graduate degree and clear the IPS recruiting exam. Aspiring police officers must undertake multiple state and national admission tests. The State Selection Commission is one of the popular entrance exams taken by applicants.

To further qualify for the role of a Police officer, candidates must hold a graduation degree from a recognized college or university, with a minimum aggregate score of 45% and above in any field.

How to Become a Police Officer: Physical Criteria

It is also crucial for candidates to meet specific physical criteria, such as running 1600 meters in under 6 minutes and 30 seconds to qualify for the Physical Efficiency Test (PET). Moreover, they are evaluated through the Police Officer's Physical Abilities Test (POPAT), where their speed, agility, strength, resistance, focus, determination, and stamina are scrutinized.

For those aspiring to join the IPS, height and weight requirements are also essential factors. The minimum required height is 170 cm for male candidates and 157 cm for female candidates. By fulfilling these criteria, aspiring individuals can embark on the path to becoming dedicated and capable Police officers.

Types of Police Officers

In India, police ranks are categorized into two groups: direct entry posts and promotional posts. While initial recruitment can occur directly into the police ranks, subsequent advancements are made through promotions. Remarkably, the Indian Police rank second-highest globally in terms of personnel count across all states.

Recruitment in the Indian police ranks follows a four-tiered approach:

  • Constabulary
  • Upper Sub-ordinate
  • SPS (via State Public Service Commission)
  • IPS (via Union Public Service Commission)

Police Rank & Positions in India

In India, police ranks within states generally follow a consistent hierarchy of police positions. The organization of police ranks in India is determined in the following way:



Average Salary (INR)

Deputy Commissioner of Police

Responsible for implementing federal or state regulations and supervising junior authorities.

15.2 lakh

Deputy Superintendent of Police

In charge of maintaining law and order, overseeing subordinates, and handling reported cases.

9.60 lakh

Police Inspector

Oversees inquiries, guides junior investigators, manages official work, and reports to seniors.

8 lakh

Assistant Police Inspector

Monitors inquiries in the absence of an Inspector and prevents or detects crime in their area.

7.81 lakh

Sub Inspector

Ensures efficient operations, maintains peace, prevents and detects crime, and keeps records.

7.10 lakh

Police Constable

Gathers information, collects evidence, patrols, aids civil administrations, and more.

4.2 lakh

Rank: Constable

A ‘Constable’ position falls under the Constabulary system introduced during British rule. Advancement within the ranks leads to Senior Constable and eventually to the position of Head Constable. For recruitment into the state police force, exams are conducted by the respective state police recruitment bodies for positions like home guard or Constable. The hierarchy is as follows:

  • Constable (CT)
  • Head Constable (HC)

Rank: Assistant Sub Inspector

The rank of Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) comes next in line after the Head Constable in the police hierarchy. ASIs are selected through competitive exams conducted by designated authorities, which may vary from state to state. Each state's police unit has its recruitment process that includes competitive exams for recruiting ASIs and SIs, who may then get promoted to the rank of Inspector of Police (PI). The order of these posts in the hierarchy is as follows:

  • Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police (ASI)
  • Sub-Inspector of Police (SI)
  • Inspector of Police (PI)

Rank: Provincial/State Police Service Officers (PPS/SPS)

The selection process for Provincial or State Police Service officers involves the 'State Public Service Commission.' This service is gazetted, and officers are eligible for consideration to join the Indian Police Service (IPS) after serving for a specific period. PPS officers are initially appointed as Deputy Superintendents of Police (DSP). Towards the end of their careers, some Police Inspectors may also receive promotions to the DSP position. SPS officers are promoted in the following sequence:

  • Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP)
  • Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP)
  • Superintendent of Police (SP)
  • Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP)

Types of Job Roles Police Officer

There are several designations in Indian Police Service/ Department, and the recruitment for various posts varies from each other. All the designations of a police officer are listed below:

Superintendent of Police (SP)/ Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP): ASP and SP are in-charge of a large urban area within the district or Deputy Commander of an Armed Police or Special Commando Battalion.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP)/ Assistant Commissioner: Deputy Superintendent of Police is a state police officer who belongs to provincial police forces.

Inspector of Police/ Circle Inspector: Inspector of Police is the officer-in-charge of a police station in a particular region or locality. Inspector’s post is higher than a sub inspector’s post.

Assistant Inspector of Police: Assistant Inspector of Police is the assistant officer-in-charge of a police station in a particular region or locality. Inspector’s post is higher than a sub inspector’s post. They take the responsibility of the police station in case of absence of Inspector of Police.

Sub-Inspector of Police: Sub-Inspector of Police is the lowest-ranking officer who under Indian Police rules and regulations can file a charge sheet in court, and is usually the first investigating officer.

Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police: An Assistant sub-inspector is a non-gazetted police officer ranking above a police head constable and below a sub-inspector.

Police Head Constable: Police Head Constable assists Sub-Inspector of Office in carrying out day-to-day activities of the police station.

Police Constable: It is the lowest rank in the Department of Police in India. The major responsibility of the police constable is to follow the orders of the head of the police stations and head constables. They should carry out the responsibility given by the superiors.

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Pay Scale/Salary of Police Officer

Here are the important details related to the salary of police officer, constable and more:


Average Annual Package (INR)

Inspector General of Police (IG)

17.50 L

Director General of Police (DGP)

14.30 L

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP)

13.50 L

Superintendent of Police (SP)

10.60 L

Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP)

9 L

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP)

7 L


6.50 L


5.30 L

Head Constable

4.20 L


3-4 L

Suitable Courses to Become a Police Officer in India

The table below provides an overview of essential courses required to become a police officer in India after completing the 12th grade:


Sociology Courses

Criminology Courses

Political Science Courses


Graduation from a recognized university.

Graduation from a recognized university.

Graduation from a recognized university.


3 Years

3 Years

3 Years

Entrance Exams




Average Fees

INR 500 - 5,000

INR 500 - 5,000

INR 500 - 5,000

Average Salary

INR 3.67 LPA

INR 3.67 LPA

INR 3.67 LPA

Top Colleges

Jadavpur University, LD Arts College, Bharathiar University

University of Mysore, University of Madras, University of Bangalore

Lady Shri Ram College, Christ University, Presidency College

It should be noted that completing any of the above courses will make candidates eligible to pursue a career as a police officer, and the salary figures mentioned are an average estimation. Students can choose from a variety of colleges that offer these courses to kickstart their journey toward becoming police officers.

List of Colleges that Provide Courses to Become a Police Officer

To become a police officer in India does not require enrolment in specific colleges or particular courses. Applicants from any field can pursue this career. Here is a list of some of the best universities offering a variety of courses that can be beneficial for those aspiring to become police officers:

Books & Study Material to Become Police Officer

Here are some of the important books that a person can refer to clear police officer recruitment exam: -

  • Police Exam Preparation Book by Norman Hall
  • SSC Sub-Inspector Recruitment Exam by Disha Publications
  • Kiran’s SSC Constable Exam
  • SSC Delhi Police Executive Recruitment Exam by R. Gupta
  • Haryana Police Constable Recruitment Exam by R. Gupta
  • Vijetha Competitions – Andhra Pradesh Police Recruitment Exam
  • Kiran’s Kolkata Police Constable Recruitment Exam Practice Book
  • SSC Constable Recruitment Exam (Delhi) by VVK Subburaj

Apart from the above, students need to refer state-level police recruitment exam books. Several publications have made these books available in local languages.

Pros of becoming a Police Officer

  • Being a police officer is one of the prestigious positions in society, and are treated with dignity and respect in society.
  • Police officers enjoy numerous financial and non-financial benefits of government schemes apart from salary such as pensions, housing, ration subsidies etc.

Cons of becoming a Police Officer

  • Police officers, particularly lower-ranking officers face severe work pressure.
  • Unusual working hours lead to stress
  • Salary paid to SI, Inspector of Police and constables in India is low.

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FAQs about Police Officer

What are the top courses for aspiring police officers?

Among the top courses for aspiring police officers after 12th, options like Criminology, Sociology, Political Science, etc., are considered beneficial. To become a police officer, students should complete their graduation from any recognized Government or Private College with a minimum aggregate score of 45% or equivalent CGPA.

Is it possible to join the police force in India at the age of 40?

No, it is not possible to join the police force in India at the age of 40. Certain minimum requirements must be met to serve as a police officer in India, including age criteria. The age range to apply for the general police category is between 21 and 32 years.

Is it possible to become an SP without UPSC?

Yes, it is possible to become an SP without UPSC. An alternative route is to start by joining your state's police department through junior ranks, like that of a sub-inspector. After becoming a sub-inspector, you can steadily build your career by diligently solving crimes and prioritizing the safety of the citizens in your jurisdiction.

Which exams are required to become a Police Officer?

Two of the exams required to become a Police Officer include SSC and UPSC exams. These are the most prominent and widely utilized avenues for individuals aspiring to become respectable ranks as police officers in India. Both the SSC and UPSC exams have specific eligibility criteria and selection procedures, which candidates must fulfill to be considered for the respective positions. 

What are the most crucial skills for a police officer?

Some of the most crucial skills for a police officer include physical fitness, assertiveness, courage to make a difference, community awareness and critical thinking. These are the fundamental requirements that individuals must meet to embark on a career in law enforcement.

How can I become a Police Officer after passing 10th class?

You cannot become a Police Officer after 10th class. To be eligible for the UPSC CSE exam, one has to have a Bachelor's degree with at least 50% aggregate marks. Some of the best bachelor's degree subjects to join the IFS are criminology, criminal justice and law enforcement.

What is the average salary of a police officer in India?

The average monthly salary for a police officer is approximately INR 34,600. Those employed by the central government usually earn between INR 4 lakh and INR 6 lakh per annum, while their counterparts working for state governments typically earn between INR 3 lakh and INR 4 lakh per annum.

Can I pursue further education after serving as a police officer?

You can certainly pursue further education after serving as a police officer. Individuals have the opportunity to further their education by pursuing a postgraduate degree in various fields related to law enforcement and criminology. These postgraduate programs offer specialized knowledge and advanced skills, enabling police officers to enhance their understanding of crime analysis, criminal justice systems, forensic techniques, and other critical aspects of law enforcement.

What is the starting salary for a police officer?

The starting salary for a police officer, which is the starting salary when they join the police force, usually falls within the range of INR 4,00,000 to INR 5,50,000 per year. This amount may vary depending on the city or state in which the officer is employed and the specific rank or position they hold within the police department. As they gain experience and get promoted to higher ranks, their salary is likely to increase. Additionally, police officers may receive various allowances and benefits as part of their overall compensation package. It is essential to note that the salary figures mentioned here are approximate and subject to change based on government regulations and policies.

What are the responsibilities of a Superintendent of Police?

The responsibilities of a Superintendent of Police can be diverse. Superintendents of Police (SPs) hold a significant position in the police department, serving as the top-level law enforcement officers in non-metropolitan districts across India. As district heads, they are responsible for maintaining law and order, ensuring public safety, and upholding the rule of law within their designated district. Their duties encompass both rural and urban areas, making them responsible for the overall security and welfare of the entire district's population.

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