The Railway Protection Force Act of 1957 created provision for the establishment of an exclusive security and safety unit for the railways by the name of Railway Protection Force or RPF. The RPF protects the entire railways and all entities and components designated under the railways.
The RPF is vested with powers to offer search warrants, conduct detailed searching, investigating matters, stepping into prosecution steps, and furthermore.
The ministry of Railways appointed Railway police accountable to the government of India handles the ultimate nuances of any case related to the RPF and announces its supreme decision in it.
The most common way of selecting RPF officers is by the UPSC civil service examination mode. Aspiring candidates have to clear all three rounds of the civil service exam – the prelims, mains, and the interview and get shortlisted into the final list of candidates. The syllabus and exam pattern is very much the same as that for other civil service exams, and there is absolutely no change.
In this article, we discuss the role of RPF officers via their entry through civil service exams conducted by UPSC, their career progression starting as Group A officers, the various postings they hold in their tenure, pay scales, various roles, and responsibilities they perform, etc.
There are other modes of recruitment to RPF, namely through the internal promotion of RPF inspectors and induction of Ex-army officers into the 10% quota of group A officers. These two modes of recruitment are out of the purview of this article and not discussed here.
Training offered to selected candidates
Officers selected for RPF are given probationary training for nearly two years. After the foundation training at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy for Administration, they will be posted to the Jagjivan Ram Railway Protection force academy (JRRPF academy) in Lucknow.
A three-tier training module is prepared for selected and inducted candidates into the academy. This includes the initial course, followed by the refresher course and, finally, the specialized and job-specific course. Apart from these courses, grade relevant courses are also contained and imparted to candidates from various cadres.
Candidates are trained on various aspects of physical fitness, mental alertness, given n-service specialized training to achieve professional standards of excellence, engaged in surveys and seminars, etc. They are also provided continual educational measures, which means to support further education while serving at RPF.
They are taught several initiatives to inculcate and combine technology, modern methods, and scientific protocols to evolve new ways of combating danger and improvising security-related features of the RPF.
The main Endeavour of the training center is to provide good strength and values that would help assigned candidates to learn the core of the serving organization, help them prepare themselves to combat any situation, upgrade with latest technological aids, stay afloat with latest security threats and how to overcome them and overall specialized training in their service fields. They are provided these training facilities at various structures and in a step by step manner to endure better and efficient grasping of the entire training curriculum.
RPF officers get various postings at railways, department of personnel and training, bureau of police research and development, etc. RPF officers get postings at various RPF units like Central Crime Bureaus, Special protection force of the railways, the central weapons store of Indian Railways. An exclusive training center for sniffer dogs is also looked after higher officials from the RPF, this unit comprising an in-house breeding and developmental center too.
As frontline officers, they serve as sub-inspectors and constables. They are posted in departments that handle monitoring equipment for railway tracks, ensuring smooth and in-line viability, develop error-free and correct signaling methods.
They are engaged in departments that bring about total efficiency and eliminate corruption in various departments of Indian railways. The RPF handles the major synchronization factors between government railway force and the local police. Also, the railway administration and the railway ministry communications are efficiently coagulated with the help of RPF personnel in various roles and responsibilities.
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Roles and Responsibilities of RPF Officers
- To uphold the integrity and safeguard the interests of variable elements of railway properties that are inclusive of all units and entities under it.
- Offer remedial measures that improve the welfare and well being of all railway properties.
- To facilitate easy access and approach to the usage of railway properties.
- To identify vulnerable areas and trespassing chances of railway entities and take measures to avoid such situations.
- To provide passenger safety in railway stations and trains. Night trains and especially women’s safety, need to be addressed by RPF as top priorities.
- Avoiding any anti-social activities in trains like trafficking, illegal drug sale, carrying unlawful elements, weapons, etc. on trains.
- Beefing up security on railway platforms and ensuring sufficient usage of CCTV cameras at short distance points. Installation of metal detectors and other high security featured devices to enable full length and foolproof security measures at all railway checkpoints.
- Engaging public-private partnership in bringing about the use of technology in advanced security tools and custom made railway security features for Indian railways.
- Checking and improving the use of security features and tools within train bogies.
- Increasing awareness of safety concerns in trains and educating the public in general about various safety and security measures adopted by railways.
- Conducting vigilance checks from time to time to ensure full-time security available on railway stations 24/7.
RPF officers selected by the UPSC civil service exams in the officer cadre of Group A services get various roles and grades in their tenure of work. Some of the prominent positions they hold are discussed below:
In higher officer grades, they serve in the following roles:
- They are posted as director-general and additional director general at headquarters.
- They serve as principal chief security commissioner, chief security commissioner, additional chief security commissioner, deputy chief security commissioner and assistant security commissioner at zonal headquarters.
- At railway divisions, they serve in various cadres such as senior divisional security commissioner, divisional security commissioner and as assistant security commissioner.
- They can also be posted as inspector general and chief security commissioner of RPF.
- They may serve as deputy inspector general, senior commandant, commandant, adjutant or assistant commandant.
In junior and subordinate grades, they may serve in any of the following positions:
- They may be designated as inspectors or sub-inspectors or assistant sub-inspector or head constable.
|Grade of the RPF officer||Pay scales in INR||Designation of officer in Commercial role||Designation of officer in operations role|
|Junior time scale officer||In the range of 8000-13500||Serves as Assistant Security commissioner / Assistant Commandant||Serves as Assistant Security commissioner|
|Selection grade officer||In the range of 10000-15200||Serves as Divisional security Commissioner/ commandant||Serves as Security commissioner/ commandant|
|Junior administrative grade officer||In the range of 14300-18300||Serves as Senior Divisional security commissioner/ Senior Commandant||Serves as Deputy Chief Security Commissioner / Joint director|
|Senior administrative grade officer||In the range of 16400-400-20000||Serves as Deputy Inspector General / Principal of J.R.R.P.F. Academy in Lucknow||Serves as Deputy Inspector general/chief security commissioner / Additional Chief security commissioner|
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