This story is part 2 of a two-part series on the roles and structure of the Mumbai Police. You can find Part 1 here.
“The Mumbai Police is a powerful and highly organised unit of the Maharashtra Police. The budget allocation for Maharashtra Home Affairs has increased by 11% for the year 2022, so it is necessary to learn about the responsibilities of police officials, to be able to hold them accountable,” says retired ACP of Mumbai, Shirish Inamdar.
As the population and area that falls under the Mumbai police jurisdiction, the city police’s organisational structure has had to evolve to keep up with changing times. It may look complicated on paper, but the Mumbai police do have an enviable reputation as compared to the police force of many other cities.
At the top of the organisational structure of the Mumbai Police is the Commissioner of Police (CP), the commander in chief, so to speak, with whom all the bucks stop. He is involved, along with the Director-General and Inspector General of police and the concerned ministry, in policy-making concerning personnel, training and equipment, supplies and stores, financial provisions required for the maintenance of the force and the powers and duties of the various grades of officers in Mumbai.
Implementation of that policy, however, is entirely the commissioner’s responsibility.
The current police commissioner Sanjay Pandey was appointed on February 28th, 2022. Always an IPS officer, the commissioner is selected by the Maharashtra government on the recommendation of the establishment board which includes the Additional Chief Secretary of the Maharashtra Home Department and other senior bureaucrats.
Reporting to him are five Joint Commissioners of Police (Jt. CP). Jt. CP Law and order, Jt. CP Administration, Jt. CP Crime, Jt. CP Economic offences wing (EOW), and Jt. CP Traffic.
In March, CP Sanjay Pandey urged all five Joint commissioners and Additional Commissioners to be on night duty twice a month, to oversee operations around the city. Earlier the Deputy Commissioners were in-charge of night duty along with other Inspectors and sub-inspectors.
Read more: Fighting COVID-19 in Dharavi with just a face mask, Mumbai police gets a raw deal
Powers of the CP
- Under the arms act of 1959, the Commissioner of Police can grant or refuse arms licences.
- Under the criminal procedure code of 1973, he can arrest persons, disperse unlawful assembly and remove public nuisances and authorise search and seizure.
- Under the Bombay police act of 1951, the CP can arrest and/or remove people who have committed an offence, or are about to commit an offence.
- Anyone who is causing or is calculated to cause danger in a particular area, may be banished by the CP or the district magistrate, until further notice from the court.
- Overall maintenance of law and order and communal peace and harmony in Mumbai.
The Additional Commissioners of Police, appointed by the state government on the recommendation of the police establishment board, decide all transfers, promotions and appointments and other service-related matters in the Mumbai Police force. Each of them is in charge of a particular zone or branch, and they have executive powers in that zone/branch in the absence of the commissioner. The Additional Commissioner works closely with the Deputy Commissioner in their region.
The Deputy Commissioner is responsible for the general supervision of the division under him/her and guides assistant commissioners (ACP). Assistant Commissioners are responsible for the general discipline of the police stations under their charge for all criminal investigations. They visit crime scenes and closely supervise the police stations.
Roles and responsibilities of the traffic department
In Mumbai, there is a traffic branch headed by a Joint Commissioner, with three deputy commissioners (DCPs) under them. Just like a police station’s jurisdiction is determined area-wise, various parts of the city are divided into different traffic divisions. These traffic divisions work out of smaller offices. The city is divided into twenty-five traffic police zones, each headed by a Deputy Commissioner of Police. The Traffic Police is a semi-autonomous body under the Mumbai Police.
It is the traffic division’s responsibility to implement the Motor Vehicle Act, to ensure safe movements of VIPs and maintain smooth traffic flow, especially during festivals, and manage green corridors for emergency organ transplants.
Cases of driving without a licence or helmet, speeding, breaking the signal, riding triple seat are documented daily in the local traffic divisions and fines are levied on the spot. Police stations/chowkis also collect fines for towed vehicles in the area.
However, cases of car accidents and rash or negligent driving are registered in the police station, as they are crimes under the law.
The traffic unit is divided into four administrative sections – Traffic headquarters, Traffic City (South Mumbai), Traffic Suburbs, and Eastern suburbs.
The traffic headquarters is responsible for training traffic department personnel, planning, and managing the traffic education institute. The traffic training institute in Byculla conducts training for traffic officers all over Maharashtra – training subjects include collecting statistics, studying traffic patterns, and management of traffic (no entries/U turns etc). The main control room is located at the headquarters as are the motor transport section, multimedia cell, and prosecution cell that levies fines and carries out vehicle towing.
Traffic City manages traffic from Colaba to Wadala, the Suburban Traffic unit controls Dahisar to Bandra traffic, and the eastern suburbs unit controls traffic from Mahim to Mankhurd in the Central East and Kurla to Mulund in the East. Each area has an in-charge Police Inspector and multiple traffic Havaldars that ensure smooth traffic flow, and enforce the law as and when rules are broken.
Law and order
Under Joint Commissioner (Law & Order) there are five regional Additional Commissioners, who supervise 13 zonal DCPs, 41 divisional ACPs and 93 Senior Police Inspectors. The Inspectors are responsible for crime in their police station’s jurisdiction.
Additional commissioner of Protection and Security supervises the four DCPs in charge of Protection, Security, Mantralaya Security, and Quick Reaction Team (QRT) respectively. The Additional Commissioner’s official rank is also titled Deputy Inspector General of Police. It is the responsibility of the Additional commissioner to personally inspect the efficiency and discipline of the police force.
There is one ACP under DCPs of Security, QRT, and Mantralaya security and six ACPs under DCP of Protection.
Additional commissioner of Special Branch (SB), heads two DCPs, under whom are seven ACPs. All of them together run the two special branches of Mumbai SB-1 and SB-2. SB-1 is used to get information about anti-national elements working in any part of Maharashtra, and SB-2 is in charge of the overall supervision of airports, seaports and Foreigners Registration Office’s (FRRO) officers for clearing the verification of the passport applicants.
There is one DCP of operations, under whom there is one ACP of Mediation and Conciliation Report who looks at the Web cell, Tech cell and the SMS cell. There is also an ACP coordinator under the DCP of operations. DCP of Operations is in charge of providing manpower to understaffed police stations. They also build a special squad of police personnel for blockades and interventions in case of a severe threat to the city – like terrorist attacks and underworld crimes. The ACP assists with these operations.
The Mumbai police’s Crime branch is centralised and exists in every commissionerate.
A police station is an independently empowered body. But when the crime has citywide ramifications and falls under more than one police station, the case is transferred to the crime branch located in the Mumbai Police headquarters. The decision to transfer a particular case to the crime branch is taken by the concerned DCP zone, in consultation with the Additional Commissioner and their counterpart in the crime branch.
Under the Joint commissioner, Crime, there is an Additional commissioner, who heads the seven DCPs of each unit of the crime department, namely Detection, Detection-1, Enforcement, Preventive, Anti-Narcotics cell (ANC), Crime against Women (CAW), and cybercrime.
This unit is overall in-charge of C.A.W. Units (I,II) and Counselling Cell, as well as Department of Women and Child Development. The various units under the crime branch and their responsibilities are as follows.
- Detection branch – Monitoring the investigation of serious crime and formulating new strategies for combating organised crime.
- Preventive branch – This branch keeps records of those arrested and convicted for different crimes. The records are classified based on the modus-operandi of criminals.
- Cybercrime branch – Deals with the investigation of website hacking, cyberstalking, cyber pornography, e-mail, credit card frauds, software piracy, online frauds and internet crime.
- Anti Narcotics Cell (ANC) – This unit initiates action against persons who manufacture, transport, possesses, and sell narcotics drugs, a psychotropic substance like Heroin, Morphine, Ganja, Charas, Hashish oil, Cocaine, Mephedrone, LSD, Ketamine, Amphetamine and others substances under NDPS Act 1985.
- Crimes Against Women – The Government of Maharashtra has initiated a special cell to register complaints and investigate crimes against women and children in all police stations in Mumbai, with the coordinating office located in the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. The collaboration of TISS facilitates a coordinated, multi-agency response to issues of crimes against women.
Now there is a Nirbhaya police officer, always a woman, at every police station who is in charge of the women’s cell and looks exclusively at crimes against women.
In addition, there is a central social service cell under the crime branch, which looks after women’s security, safety, domestic violence, sexual harassment at workplace and other crimes against women.
- DCP Detection – Handles Crime unit 1-5 – extortion cell, Crime intelligence unit (CIU), property cell, Special Operations Squad (SOS), Motor Vehicle theft etc.
- DCP Detection-1 – Handles Crime unit 6-12 – Anti Dacoity robbery cell, antichain-snatching etc.
- DCP Enforcement – In charge of Anti Trafficking, robbery cells, antichain-snatching etc
- DCP Preventive – Handles Crime computer cell, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Court cell, Atrocity cell etc.
- DCP ANC – Supervises 5 units of ANC including manufacture, transport, possession, and sale of narcotics
- DCP CAW – In charge crimes against women cell and counselling
- DCP cyber crime – Works with the cyber admin
Economic Offences Wing (EOW)
Economic offences have a wide definition, and cannot be limited to corruption. The EOW looks at housing feuds, general cheating, RTIs for public and private development, job racketing, share transactions, Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID), Banking, Fake currency, tax evasion, money laundering refund cell, sales tax, and intellectual property rights amongst other economic offences.
The wing is a subdivision of the Crime Investigation Department (CID), which is a subdivision of the Indian State Police. Mumbai has its independent EOW in the Mumbai Police headquarters, and hence it comes to the CP first, before it is forwarded to the CID headquarters in Pune.
Cases like bank frauds, society frauds, chit funds need not come to the police stations and may be directly transferred to the economics offences wing, as police stations aren’t equipped with the expertise to deal with such cases. The EOW wing is an independently functioning unit in the Mumbai Police.
Transferring a case to the higher branch should ideally be done in less than two days of the crime being reported. The Code of Criminal Procedure is strictly timelined, so that the police are answerable for every single minute, once a case is registered.
- EOW runs investigations into the cases of fraud, misrepresentation, and cheating in various departments, as mentioned above, organisations, and institutions of government.
- The State Government appoints the EOW to handle cases concerning financial frauds from any private entity, from individuals to companies and corporations, depending on the level of an offence conducted. Currently they only probe cases where scams of Rs 10 crore or more have been committed.
- EOW also looks into the cases of suspicious Government revenue and if in any case of loss has occurred, it alerts the government to take appropriate follow-up actions.
- Cases involving non-banking financial companies, chit fund scams, fake stamp papers, multi level marketing schemes, ponzi schemes, etc.
The future of course will hold different challenges. How the organisational structure evolves to deal with them remains to be seen.
This explainer is part of a series on ‘Explainers and Information Resources for Mumbaikars’ supported by a grant from the A.T.E. Chandra Foundation.