The Railway Protection Force (RPF) is a security force of India entrusted with safeguarding railway passengers, passenger regions and railway property of the Indian Railways. It has the power to take in custody, investigate and prosecute criminals.
The force is responsible for the authority of the Ministry of Railways (India). The strength of RPF is about 65,000. As on 1 January 2014, sanctioned strength of Group ‘A’ officers in the RPF is 441, covering 127 officers recruited through the Civil Services Examination of UPSC. The RPF is led by the Director General (DG) Mr. Dharmendra Kumar, who was chosen as DG, RPF on 21 August 2017. He succeeded S K Bhagat, who superannuated on 20 February 2016. From the superannuation of Mr. R.R. Verma, the senior most RPF officer, Mr. P.S. Rawal, had been acting DG.
The inception of this force was ‘Watch & Ward’ and functioned under the administrative control of railway administration. After that on this force was renamed as Railway Protection Force and its members were provided with the power of arrest without warrant for the unlawful possession of railway property.
The term railway property covered only the properties owned by the railway administration. In due course of time, the definition for the term Railway Property was extended and it covered the properties owned by, or in the charge of or entrusted with the railways.
The offenders are booked under the Railway Property (Unlawful Possession) Act 1966 which is shortly called as RP(UP) Act 1966. Now the Railway Protection Force has a separate administrative system and functions in the general supervision of the Railway Administration.
- Carry on an unrelenting fight against criminals in safeguarding railway passengers, passenger area and railway property.
- Helps passenger-travel and security by removing all anti-social elements from trains, railway premises, and passenger area.
- Remain vigilant to avoid trafficking in women and children and take appropriate action to rehabilitate destitute children found in Railway areas.
- Co-Helps with other departments of the Railways in improving the efficiency and image of the Indian Railways.
- Perform as a bridge between the Government Railway Police/local police and the Railway administration.
- Adopt proactively all the latest technology, best human rights practices, management techniques and special measures for the protection of female and elderly passengers and children.