Railway Protection Force (RPF)
रेलवे सुरक्षा बल
Parent Agency - Ministry of Railways
Parent Agency - Ministry of Railways
Emblem of Railway Protection Force
Emblem of Railway Protection Force
Flag of Railway Protection Force
Flag of Railway Protection Force
Common nameRPF
Mottoयशो लभस्व (Sanskrit)
"Attain Honour"
Agency overview
Formed2 July, 1872
Employees75,000 active personnel[1]
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agencyIN
Operations jurisdictionIN
Governing bodyIndian Railways, Ministry of Railways, Government of India
Constituting instrument
  • RPF Act, 1957
General nature
Operational structure
HeadquartersNew Delhi, India
Minister responsible
Agency executive

Railway Protection Force (RPF) is an armed force of the Union[2] under the Ministry of Railways, Government of India. The force was established by the RPF Act,1957,[3] enacted by the Indian Parliament for "the better protection and security of railway property and passenger area". It has the power to search, arrest, enquire, and prosecute offenses committed under the Railway Property (Unlawful Possession) Act 1966 and the Railways Act, 1989 (amended from time to time). RPF has also been entrusted with the responsibility of security of railway passenger area and railway passengers since 2004. However the power of arrests under other penal laws rests in the hands of the Government Railway Police (GRP) of each state.[4]

All the officers of Railway Protection Force are members of the Indian Railway Protection Force Service (IRPFS) and are either recruited through UPSC Civil Services Examination or get promoted from Non-Gazetted ranks to Officer Ranks by time bound promotions. They are recruited as Group-A Central Civil Servants. However, the post of Director-General of RPF is held on deputation by a senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer. Currently Manoj Yadava (IPS) is Director General of Railway Protection Force.[5] Recruitment also occurs for various posts like sub-inspectors & constables. Such recruitments are conducted through various exams held by the Ministry of Railways, Government of India.



The maintenance and security of Railways, the vital artery of national communication and economic progress has been a major concern of the Government of India that goes back to the times when the Railway commenced their operations in India in 1854. Since railways have a linear territory traversing inter-state lines, a foolproof security system has been hard to provide. Nevertheless, the genesis of such an endeavor can be traced back to 1854 when East Indian Railways employed certain staff designated as ‘Police’ to denote its own force by enacting the Police Act, 1861 and deployed a contingent for the security of the railway with the owner companies bearing their upkeep. The Railway Companies exercised full control over the Police Force.[6]


On the recommendation of Railway Police Committee, 1872, Railway Police was organized into ‘Govt. Police’ (The precursor of GRP) for Law enforcement and ‘Company Police’ (The precursor of RPF) for Watch and Ward duties in Railways. The actual separation of duties came into effect in 1881. By 1882, as a result of formal division of the Police Force deployed on the railways into “Government Police” and “Private (Companies) Police”, the Railway Companies directly assumed the responsibility of protection and Security of their property as well as of the goods entrusted to them by public for carriage. For this, they appointed “Chowkidars” for various departments and placed them under control of their local departmental heads. With an increase in commercial traffic and consequential steep rise in the incidence of theft of goods entrusted to railways for carriage, the “Chowkidar” system was reorganized after the first World War onto Watch & Ward organization under a single superior  officer designated as Superintendent, Watch & Ward – a system which continued up to 1954.Thus the Railway Police Administration functioned under three different systems viz the district system, as a part of District Police; the provincial system, for each province and the Railway Administration system, separate Railway Police for each Railway Administration in spite of recommendations of Indian Police commission, 1902-03. The provincial system found acceptance on recommendation of Railway Police Committee, 1921 and the present GRP came into existence. The ‘Company Police’ evolved into present RPF in 1957 passing through "Watch and Ward" phase from 1872-1954, and as "Railway Security Force" from  1954-1956. RPF was also given limited legal powers under Railway Stores (Unlawful Possession) Act.[7]


The RPF marching contingent passes through the Rajpath, on the occasion of the 67th Republic Day Parade 2016, in New Delhi on January 26, 2016

Thus, for a full 100 years, the Force though being used for providing security to the vital artery of national communication and economic progress did not itself have any legislative status. Therefore the Govt. instituted  a  special  enquiry  through  Director, Intelligence Bureau (Ministry of Home Affairs) who in his report in 1954 forcefully brought out  the  necessity  of  organising  the  Watch  &  Ward  on  a statutory basis.  The Railway Board  also  appointed  a  Security  Adviser  to the Railway Board in July, 1953 to work out the  details  for  the  reorganisation  of  the  Watch  &  Ward department.  It was decided in consultation  with  the  Ministry  of  Home  Affairs  that  there  should be an integrated well organised force on the model of the Police with adequate supervisory staff specially trained to  meet  the  particular  aspects of crime that were relevant to Railway property  and to work in close collaboration  and  act  as  a  second  line  to  the  States  Police  with  whom,  under  the Constitution,  policing  on  Railways  rested.  This  led  to  the  R.P.F.  Bill  for  the better protection and security. It was only on 29 August 1957 that a Railway Protection Force  Act was enacted by the Parliament and Railway Security Force was renamed as Railway Protection Force.  The RPF Rules were made on 10 September 1959 and RPF Regulations  wee formulated in 1966.In the meantime in 1962 “Special Emergency Force” has been raised from the existing strength of RPF during Chinese Aggression, which was especially entrusted the task to protect trains in border districts. In 1965 it has been renamed as “Railway Protection Special Force”. In 1966 RPF has been given legal powers for better protection of Railway property by enacting Railway Property (Unlawful Possession.) Act.[8]

But, while the provisions of RPF Act were soon found wanting for the maintenance of an effective and disciplined Force, the RPF Rules and Regulations too were found judicially unsound. The RPF Act, 1957 was accordingly modified by Parliament vide Act No.60 of 1985 on 20 September 1985 for the constitution and maintenance of the Force as an armed force of the Union.  For carrying out the purposes of the Act, RPF Rules 1987 was framed.

Railway Protection Force personnel at a function


The percentage of women in the RPF is the highest among all central paramilitary forces in India. It stands at 10% as of March 2019.[9]


The Railway Protection Force (RPF) is endowed with significant authority to enforce legal provisions pertaining to railway property and operations. Specifically, the RPF possesses the power to arrest, investigate, and prosecute individuals found in violation of The Railway Property (Unlawful Possession) Act and The Railways Act.

Moreover, in 2019, the RPF was granted additional empowerment under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, allowing officers to undertake search, seizure, and arrest activities in relation to drug-related offenses. Notably, officers holding the rank of Assistant Sub Inspector and above within the RPF hierarchy are authorized to exercise the powers and fulfill the duties outlined in section 42 of the NDPS Act within their respective jurisdictions.[10]

Any crime that takes place in the railway jurisdiction falls under the Government Railway Police, which is part of the respective State Police Force. The responsibilities of the Railway Police include the maintenance of law and order, prevention and detection of crimes, as well as investigation and policing on railways and railway premises, including running trains.[11]

Structure (Gazetted officers)

The Gazetted IRPFS Officers utilise a similar rank structure to the IPS (Indian Police Service). Non-Gazetted ranks are the same as those used in the State Police Services. The job profile differs for each position [12]

Grade RPF Position Equivalent Position or Designation in the Government of India (GOI)
Above Super Time Scale (Apex Scale) Director General of Police (DGP) Director General (GOI), Secretary (R) in Cabinet Secretariat (GOI), Director General in CAPFs, Lieutenant-General (three-star rank).
Above Super Time Scale (HAG) (Pay-Band-4) Additional Director General (ADGP) Additional Director General of Police, Commissioner of Police (City), Special or Additional Director (GOI), Special or Additional Secretary (R) Cabinet Secretariat (GOI), ADG in CAPFs.
Super Time Scale (Senior Administrative Grade) (Pay-Band-4) (IG after 5 years of service as DIG) Principal Chief Security Commissioner (PCSC)
or Inspector-General (IG), Railway Protection Special Force (RPSF)
Inspector General of Police, Commissioner of Police (City), Joint Secretary if empaneled as such (R) Cabinet Secretariat (GOI), IG of CAPFs. Major-General (two-star rank).
Super Time Scale (DIG/Conservator Grade) (Pay-Band-4) (DIG after 5 years of service as Sr. DSC/Sr. Commandant RPSF) Chief Security Commissioner (CSC)
Deputy Inspector-General (DIG), RPSF
, Director (R) Cabinet Secretariat (GOI), DIG in CAPFs. Brigadier (one-star rank).
Selection Grade (Pay-Band-4) (After 8 years of service as DSC/Commandant RPSF) Deputy Chief Security Commissioner (Dy.CSC) (Zone)
Sr. Security Commissioner, Sr. Divisional Security Commissioner (Sr.DSC) (Division)
Sr. Commandant RPSF
Senior Superintendent of Police, Director (R) Cabinet Secretariat (GOI), Senior Commandants of CAPFs. Colonel.
Senior Time Scale (Pay-Band-3) (After 5 years of service in cadre) Divisional Security Commissioner (Division)
Security Commissioner RPF
Commandant RPSF
Superintendent of Police, Commandants of CAPFs. Lieutenant Colonel (pay grade).
Junior Time Scale (Pay-Band-3) Assistant Security Commissioner (ASC)
ASC (Division)
Assistant Commandant RPSF/Adjutant
Assistant Superintendent of Police, Circle Officer, Senior Field Officer (R) Cabinet Secretariat. Lieutenant/Major (pay grade).


Gazetted Officers

Rank group General / flag officers Senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet
Railway Protection Force
Director general Additional director general Inspector general/
Principal chief security commissioner
Deputy inspector general/
Chief security commissioner
Senior commandant/
Senior divisional security commissioner
Divisional security commissioner
Assistant commandant/
Assistant security commissioner
Police equivalent
Director General (DGP) Additional Director General (ADG)
Inspector General (IG) Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Senior Superintendent (SSP) Superintendent (SP) Additional Superintendent (ASP) ACP/ DSP

Non-gazetted officers

Rank group Junior commissioned officers Non commissioned officers Enlisted
Railway Protection Force
No insignia
Sub inspector
उप निरीक्षक
Assistant sub-inspector
सहायक उप निरीक्षक
Head constable


The governance of RPF is based on the following[3] relevant legislation, rules and directives.

Command Structure[12]
Designation – Superior Officers
HQ Zonal HQ Division Battalion
Director General (DG)
Additional Director General

Inspector General

Principal Chief Security Commissioner Principal Chief Security Commissioner/RPSF
Chief Security Commissioner Chief Security Commissioner/RPSF
Dy. Chief Security Commissioner/Senior Security Commissioner Senior Divisional Security Commissioner (Sr. DSC) Sr. Commandant
Divisional Security Commissioner (DSC) Commandant
Assistant Security Commissioner (ASC) Assistant Security Commissioner (ASC) Assistant Commandant / Adjutant
Designation – Subordinate Officers and below
Assistant Sub-Inspector
Driver / Head Constable
Units under RPF[13]
Breeding and Training Center for police dogs
Central Crime Bureau
Central Weapons Store
Crime Intelligence wing
Special Intelligence Branch
Cyber Cell Branch


  1. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 August 2017. Retrieved 4 March 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ https://nwr.indianrailways.gov.in/uploads/files/1331705691014-RPF_Act1957.pdf
  3. ^ a b "Railway Protection Force Act" (PDF). www.nwr.indianrailways.gov.in. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  4. ^ Press Trust of India. "MoS Railways dubs Railway Protection Force as 'toothless', demands more power for it". economictimes.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  5. ^ "New Haryana DGP: With Yadava named RPF head, state to take up empanelment of IPS officers with Centre". Hindustan Times. 19 July 2023. Retrieved 22 July 2023.
  6. ^ "Ministry of Railways (Railway Board)".
  7. ^ "Ministry of Railways (Railway Board)".
  8. ^ "Ministry of Railways (Railway Board)".
  9. ^ Srivastava, Anushika (8 January 2020). "Railway Protection Force Has Highest Number Of Women Personnel". SheThePeople TV. Retrieved 9 January 2020.
  10. ^ Rajaram, R. (26 May 2019). "Centre empowers RPF officers to exercise powers under NDPS Act". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 3 March 2024.
  11. ^ "Roles and Responsibilities of the Government Railway Police (GRP), Ministry of Railways (Railway Board)". indianrailways.gov.in. Retrieved 3 March 2024.
  12. ^ a b "Service Profile for Group "A" Officers in Railway Protection Force" (PDF). RPF. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  13. ^ "RPF rules" (PDF). www.indianrailways.gov.in. 2018. Retrieved 15 April 2021.