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Police in Cochin State

Click to See Larger ViewThe erstwhile Cochin State was a part of the Chera Empire during the 15th century AD and the King was the absolute ruler of that State.  The State was divided into several Desams, which were ruled by Desavazhis.  It was further divided into several Nadus which were controlled by Naduvazhis. The military men who were known as Chengathakkar were performing duties such as protecting the travellers, merchants and guarding Forts. Their duties and powers were a combination of those of the Military as well as the Police. Owing to certain curtailment in the powers of Naduvazhis, the entire State was divided into ten Kovilakathams Vathilukal (Taluk) and the King became more powerful. The bureaucracy was also strengthened, which comprised Sarvadhikaryakar, Menon, Kizhikkar and Muthalpidikkar. They got the powers and duties of Police and performed as judicial officers in addition to their duty to collect revenues to the state.

In 1812 Colonel Munroe, who took charge as the Dewan of Kochi, introduced radical changes in the administrative structure. He appointed a Thana Naik.  "Daroga", an officer associated with Huzur Kachery, performed the duties of Thana Naik. The Thana Naik performed duties such as booking of thieves, recovery of thondy articles, seizure of smuggled goods and patrolling the local area. There were many proclamations, promulgated between 1812 and 1816 AD to notify the duties and powers of the courts and the Police in Cochin State.

The Police system created by Sakthan Thampuran was reformed in 1812 by Hukum Nama by which Thanedars under Thana Naik for each Taluk were instituted and the duty of keeping law and order under their jurisdiction was given to them. In 1835 this system was abolished and instead Tehisildars were appointed with the authority of the Police who functioned  through ‘Cotwals’. In 1888, it is stated that there were 32 Police Stations in the state and the system remained unchanged till 1909.

Rama Varma who ruled the Cochin State from 1864 to 1868 was a reformist. He appointed George Gunther to study and submit a report on the reorganisation of Police.  On the basis of Gunther's report an independent Police Department was formed in 1883.  Gunther became the First Superintendent of Police of the Cochin State. 

Subsequently a major reorganisation took place in 1908. Three zones were created.  The ratio between the Police and the people was fixed and maintained as 1:1523 during that period. in 1908 Sub-inspectors were appointed in the post of Station House Officers. The following officers succeeded Gunther as Superintendent of Police in the State of Cochin.  R.B. Fargoosen (1895-99), R.T. Louis (1900-01), Subba Rao (1901-06), A.J. Fargoosen (1907-10), M.AChacko (1911-20) and H.W.M. Brown. In 1920 Inspector and Sub-Inspector were re-designated as Divisional Inspector of Police and Inspector of Police respectively. The Superintendent of Police was re-designated as the Commissioner of Police in 1921 and H W M Brown was appointed as the first Police Commissioner of the Cochin State.  A Traffic Wing with the assistance of a Break Inspector was also introduced. During that period the total strength of the Police Department consisted of 97 Officers and 580 Police Constabulary.  In 1935, the Village Vigilance committees were established and they helped the Police at large.  In 1941 the  Cochin Police Manual was published. The manual clearly described the various duties of the Police with defined powers. Since there was an agitation by the Police force in 1942, a major reshuffle was ordered.  As a result one company of Armed Police was shifted to Nair Brigade and the Traffic Wing was shifted to Ernakulam, which was kept under the direct control of the Police Commissioner. In 1946 the Fire Force wing was also affiliated to the Police Command.


The Cochin Police had a very cordial relationship with the neighbouring Malabar and Travancore Police and due to mutual relationship; the arrest of the offenders was easily facilitated.

 

 

 

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