The Nilgiris, prior to the coming of the British, does not seem to have had a policing system. A kind of moral law appear to have prevailed among the original inhabitants of the district. The communal system was such that village crime was almost unknown, whether against persons or property.
After colonization , from 1820 to 1855, Ootacamund had a military police under the military magistrate who was called Officer Commanding or Commandant of Nilgiris. The military police was abolished after the military depot was shifted from Ootacamund to Wellington. In the rest of the district, from 1816 to 1859, the peons of the Revenue Officers, under the Tahsildar, appear to have done the little police work there was. Thus prior to the introduction of the regular police system headed by Sir William Robinson, the first Inspector General of Police of Madras State, no police existed on the hills except at Ootacamund which was populated by a mixture of immigrant workers and labourers.
Since then the Superintendent of Police, Coimbatore, exercised a general control over the Nilgiri district. The officer immediately in charge was the Chief Inspector who was stationed in Ootacamund, assisted by an Inspector and two Sub-Inspectors. There were ten stations in the Nilgiris. The police strength of Ootacamund was one Inspector and 45 Constables.
The British administration was also kind enough to extend the benefit of the Nilgiri climate to their prisoners. From1862 to 1891 an European jail was functioning in Ooty exclusively for Europeans sentenced in all parts of India.
In 1910 the Nilgiris was separated from the Coimbatore district and placed under a separate District Superintendent of Police. Considerable difficulty was experienced in maintaining the police force on the Nilgiri Hills in an efficient and satisfactory manner. The rates of hill bata given did not compensate for the dearness of provisions and for the discomforts of the climate. Consequently. resignations became frequent. The Superintendent of Police of Coimbatore District rendered special attention to keep up the force in a better working standard.
Nilgiri Documentation Centre
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