w14It is more than 110 years; Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of West Bengal Police has relentlessly rendered service to the nation. Its expertise towards investigation of complicated cases and heinous crimes has earned country wide recognition. Such reliability is the result of an evolutionary process for years.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of West Bengal Police functions under the supervision of an Addl. Director General & Inspector General of Police with its headquarters at Bhawani Bhawan, Kolkata. It is a separate and complete investigating agency of the West Bengal Police and has been entrusted to detect heinous crimes of different categories and nab the culprits. Besides general crime, it deals with crime related to robbery, burglary & theft, cheating & fraud, economic offence, motor theft, homicide, narcotic, railway and highway crime, etc. The CID has a Bomb Disposal Squad, Missing Person Bureau, Naxalite Cell, Women’s Grievance Cell, Fraud and Cheating Cell. Apart from these specialized cells, the CID has also specialized units like Finger Print Bureau, Questioned Document Examination Bureau and Photography Section. Due to the change in crime pattern, Cyber Crime Cell was setup in 2005. Sir Edward Henry as IGP, Bengal during his tenure made a revolutionary change in the field of identification. A Fingerprint Bureau was established in Calcutta in 1897. The importance of forensic serology was also appreciated in India as early as 1910 and a Central Laboratory and Office of Imperial Serologist came in to existence. The Chief Inspector of Explosive was appointed in 1898 in Nagpur and the department gradually expanded with regional offices in a number of places all over India.

Prior to 1902, the only central police agency, Thuggee and Dacoity Department, was  in existence (1838) and was entrusted to suppress thugs but the branch was abolished in 1904. The Imperial Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headed by an IGP rank officer was established following the recommendation of the Police Commission (1902). The Commission suggested that the central agency was to collect, collate and communicate information frankly and cordially, while dealing with crime. The most outstanding developments in the history of Indian Police were the creation of CID and the emergence of Intelligence Branch (IB).

The Indian Police Commission in 1902-03 recommended constituting Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in every province and on 21 March 1905 the Government of India accepted the proposal of the Commission. The Government issued instructions to start the department in every province by 1907. In Bengal, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) came into existence on 1st April 1906 under Mr. C.W.C. Plowden. The first head of CID after Independence was Shri H.N. Sarkar, IPJP.

In 1906, when the provincial Criminal Investigation Department was formed, there was no organizational linkage between the Special Branch and the CID. Special Branch was already existent before the official formation of CID. Meanwhile, both the agencies used to function separately – one as part of the office of the Inspector General of Police, Bengal, while the other was headed by a Deputy Inspector General who was in-charge of the CID and Railways. Even during the Swadeshi Movement of 1905 following the Partition of Bengal, the Special Branch which was being headed by Denham at that time, was monitoring the Movement with its meager resources.

The CID was divided into two sections – one, the criminal side, investigating ordinary crimes and the other, the political side, acting as auxiliary unit to the Special Branch and investigating political crimes and offences arising out of political agitation. The Special Branch was so long attached to the office of the Inspector General of Police. In 1908 it had to be shifted to a rented office at 41, Park Street which also accommodated the CID. Denham was then acting as Special Assistant to the Inspector General of Police and was in-charge of the Special Branch. His services were transferred to CID as Special Assistant to D.I.G (CID) in charge of the Special Branch.


Study  in  Police:  Administration  of  West  Bengal

– Basudev Chatterjee 

–BP Saha

By Our Special Correspondent