The Union Home Ministry established the Rapid Action Force (RAF) on 11 December 1991, with the objective of responding to large-scale communal riots and related public disorders. This specially trained anti-riot force became fully operational in October 1992, and there are recently 10 battalions comprised of personnel from all communities. RAF is deployed to includes most of the politically volatile parts of India.
RAF was set up on 11 December 1991 with headquarters in New Delhi. It became fully operational on 7 October 1992, to deal with riots, riot-like situations, crowd control, rescue and relief operations, and related unrest. The first five battalions were raised by October 1992 and an in addition 5 battalions were added in April 1994. On October 2003, with 11 years of service, the force was presented with the President’s colors. On 9 November 2013, the RAF Academy of Public Order was set up in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. In 2017, the Indian government approved an addition of five battalions to be based in New Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar.
RAF is commanded by an Inspector-General of Police (IGP), functioning at New Delhi. The RAF is divided into two ranges led by a DIGP at New Delhi and Mumbai. Since 2015, Mr. K S Bhandari has headed the RAF as an IGP.
Planning, Training, and Improvement
- The personnel for the RAF are chosen from the CRPF duty battalions on a tough yardstick and are given conversion training of 6 weeks before they are deployed for duties. When they are not deployed, they undergo aforesaid training and familiarisation exercise in sensitive and hyper-sensitive districts in their AOR. They are also responsible for a lot of humanitarian activities to spread the message of peace and harmony amongst various communities.
- RAF Academy (RAPO – Rapid Action Force Academy for Public Order), Meerut, UP, has soon been inaugurated by the then Home Minister of India, Sushilkumar Shinde, during October 2013.
- RAF trains police personnel of different states in riot control techniques as well.
- RAF is also planning to launch a horse-mounted the force to handle situations in the lanes and by-lanes during riots and religious festival bandobasts. The force is also planning to utilize dogs to scare away the crowd and uses unarmed surveillance flying devices to monitor situations for quick responses.