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The Bombay City Police

The Bombay City Police

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Excerpt from The Bombay City Police: A Historical Sketch, 1672-1916

I have been prompted to prepare this brief record of the past history and growth of the Bombay Police Force by the knowledge that, except for a few paragraphs in Volume II of the Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, no connected account exists of the police administration of the City. Considering how closely interwoven with the daily life of the mass of the population the work of the Force has always been, and how large a contribution to the welfare and progress of the City has been made by successive Commissioners of Police, it seems well to place permanently on record in an accessible form the more important facts connected with the early arrangements for watch and ward and crime-prevention, and to describe the manner in which the Heads of the Force carried out the heavy responsibilities assigned to them.

The year 1916 is a convenient date for the conclusion of this historical sketch for in September of that year commenced the violent agitation for Home Rule which under varying names and varying leadership, and despite concessions and political reforms, kept India in a state of unrest during the following five or six years.

Other considerations also suggest that the narrative may close most fitly in the year preceding the memorable pronouncement in Parliament, which ushered in the recent constitutional reforms. No one can foretell what changes may hereafter take place in the character and constitution of the City Police Force; but it is improbable that the Force can remain unaffected by the altered character of the general administration. Ere old conditions and old landmarks disappear, it seems to me worth while to compile a succinct history of the Force, as it existed before the era of democratic reform.

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