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Criminal investigation department

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C. E. Howard Vincent, founder of the Metropolitan Police CID

A criminal investigation department (CID) is the branch of all territorial police forces within the British Police, and many other Commonwealth police forces, to which plainclothes detectives belong. It is thus distinct from the uniformed branch and the police intelligence special branch.

The Metropolitan Police Service created a detective branch in 1842 with eight plainclothes detectives thirteen years after it was established in 1829.[1] Detective units were set up in other forces from the mid-nineteenth century onwards in the large provincial cities and towns and in the City of London.[1] In 1854, the Nottingham Borough Police established a CID.[2]

On 8 April 1878, the Metropolitan Police Service Detective Branch was reformed into the CID by C. E. Howard Vincent.[3][1] Originally, it was under the direct command of the Home Secretary, but since 1888 has been under the authority of the commissioner.




Criminal investigation department officers are required to have had at least two years as uniformed officers before applying to transfer to the branch, and receive further training when they do so.[4] While training they are referred to as a trainee detective constable (TDC)[5] and after completing the national Initial Crime Investigators' Development Programme, typically taking around two years, they become fully fledged detective constables (DCs). CID officers are involved in the investigation of major crimes such as rape, murder, serious assault, and fraud.[4] They are responsible for acting upon intelligence received and then building a case.

In the United Kingdom, smaller police stations usually have more uniformed officers than CID officers, typically five DCs with a detective sergeant (DS) in overall command. In larger stations many DCs, DSs and detective inspectors are present under the overall responsibility of a detective chief inspector.

Ranks and remunerationEdit

Contrary to the practice of police forces of many other nations, detectives are not automatically senior to uniformed officers and hold the same ranks. The head of the CID in most police forces is a detective chief superintendent.

These ranks are common to most forces:

As shown above, members of the CID up to and including the rank of chief superintendent prefix their ranks with detective. Detective ranks being prefixed with a D are equivalent to their uniformed counterparts. Traditionally the prefix woman was also placed in front of rank titles (as it was within the uniformed branches) to designate female officers. Although this can sometimes still be seen, especially in historical documents, the practice has been obsolete since 1999. Traditionally, when an officer joined the CID he or she would do so for life, giving up the opportunity for anything more than a very limited chance of promotion in exchange for the pay and allowances of a detective. Since the advent of the Sheehy Inquiry (where, regardless of its initial rejection, most recommendations have since been implemented) many officers have found it financially difficult to remain within the CID and have returned to uniformed duties to seek easier promotion. This has had a knock-on effect, with fewer and fewer officers opting to train as detectives.[citation needed] Within the UK nationally there is a shortage of trained detectives and police forces can be seen competing with each other for detectives to transfer to them from other forces.[citation needed]

In some police forces, some branches generally within the CID environment, such as Special Branch and child protection, are not always staffed with qualified detectives. This is a reflection of the highly specialised nature of their work which does not always call for an "all round detective" background but instead requires officers with exceptionally detailed specialist knowledge. Some forces appoint such non-detective officers to branch detective status, allowing them to use the detective prefix.

Although there is no pay increment on obtaining detective status in most forces (subject to the availability of a budget) detectives are expected to spend more time at work than most uniformed officers and this attracts additional overtime payments. Previously paid allowances such as the detective duty allowance (a small payment intended to allow officers to purchase refreshments and other similar petty cash purposes) and the plain clothes allowance (an allowance used to purchase suitable clothing) have all been withdrawn over the past few years.[citation needed]

Special investigation branchEdit

Although the British Armed Forces' military police have an investigations department, it is not called a "criminal investigation department". All three service military police forces operate special investigation branches (SIBs) which fulfill much the same role as the civilian CID.

The army's SIB has regular sections and one Territorial Army section made up of civilian SIB detectives and ex-regulars to assist them in major cases.[6]

In other countriesEdit

Republic of IrelandEdit

Irish Free StateEdit

Ireland's CID operated in the Irish Free State in 1922 and 1923 for the purposes of counter-insurgency during the Irish Civil War. It was disbanded in 1923.

Burma (Myanmar)Edit

Burma's CID is headed by the Polica Brigadier General of Burma. The CID's responsibility is to do difficult crime investigations (murder, robbery, firearm crimes, and major theft).


The CID of the Royal Malaysian Police is involved with the investigation, arrest and prosecution of crimes that affect people (e.g. murder, robbery with firearms, rape and injury) and property crime (e.g. theft and house-breaking). Modelled on the British police, this department enforces laws regarding gambling, "sin" and the Triad in Malaysia.

Hong KongEdit

The Hong Kong Police Force's CID is a sub-branch unit within the criminal intelligence bureau under the crime wing of the B department (crime and security).


The CID in Pakistan is a special unit of the provincial and metropolitan police departments, responsible for carrying out investigations into crimes, including terrorism, murders, organised crime and sectarianism. The special branch of the CID in the Asia Division (CIDA) was a division of this department, but is currently not operational. It had only 12 members, the names of which are not available because of security issues.

Sri LankaEdit

The CID of the Sri Lanka Police Service is responsible for carrying out investigations into crimes including murder and organised crime. It was established in 1870.[7]


The Singapore Police Force's CID is the agency for premier investigation and staff authority for criminal investigation matters within the Singapore Police Force.[8]


India's CID (sometimes known as the investigation branch) is a specialised wing in many state police forces.[9][10][11] Personnel attached to this wing essentially work in plain clothes (mufti). Other branches of the CID are, the state crime investigation bureau, finger print bureau and the scientific section.[9]

Like their counterparts in the law and order police, the crime branch has its own ranks up to the level of additional director general of police or special commissioner of police.[12] The crime branch has senior officers like superintendents, inspectors, sub-inspectors and the constabulary. Officers and men attached to this wing generally add the prefix detective before their regular rank (e. g.: detective inspector).

The crime branch's tasks are to investigate criminal cases, which span across multiple districts or states. The CB's CID may also take up complicated cases like communal riot cases, circulation of counterfeit currency, or very complicated murder cases.[12] A crime branch investigation is ordered either by a judicial court, by the director general of police, or the government.

Crime branch officers can be transferred to the law and order police, and vice versa. The CB is different from the crime detachment or crime sq. Crime Detachment and Crime Sq s, are a group of regular law and order policemen (who generally wear the uniform specifically detailed by the police inspector to work in plain clothes to keep a tab on local criminal elements, prostitutes, petty thieves and other habitual offenders.


Indonesian Police investigators from the criminal investigation unit

The criminal investigation units within the Indonesian National Police are called sat-reskrim (satuan reserse kriminal) meaning "criminal investigation unit", it is under the bareskrim (badan reserse kriminal) "criminal investigation agency" which is under the command of the national police headquarters. Every regional police force in Indonesia has this unit; they are concerned with conducting criminal investigations and identification activities.



Germany, Austria and SwitzerlandEdit

Kriminalpolizei is the standard term for the criminal investigation agency within the police forces of Germany, Austria and the German-speaking cantons of Switzerland.


The Direction Centrale de la Police Judiciaire (DCPJ) is the national authority of the criminal division of the French National Police. Its function is to lead and co-ordinate the action of the law enforcement forces against organised crime.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Shpayer-Makov, Haia (2012). The Ascent of the Detective: Police Sleuths in Victorian and Edwardian England. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199577408. 
  2. ^ "Our history". Nottinghamshire Police. Archived from the original on 10 July 2017. Retrieved 16 July 2017. 
  3. ^ "History of the Metropolitan Police – CID – Criminal Investigations Department –". Metropolitan Police. Archived from the original on 6 June 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "". Archived from the original on 12 October 2014. The types of serious crimes that they investigate are murders, serious assaults, robberies, fraud, and sexual offences. The CID may also assist in the investigation of less serious crimes like theft. 
  5. ^ Waldren, Michael J. (2007). Armed Police, The Police Use of Firearms since 1945. England: Sutton. p. 224. ISBN 0-7509-4637-7. 
  6. ^ "RMP(V) Specialist Units". MoD. Archived from the original on 28 July 2008. 83 Section Special Investigations Branch provides specialist criminal and sensitive investigations in support of the Regular RMP SIB. Entry Criteria: You must either already have a regular army SIB or Police CID background. 
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 August 2008. Retrieved 17 August 2008. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b UP CID Archived 4 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Uttar Pradesh Police, Official website.
  10. ^ Crime Branch CID Archived 12 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Govt. of Andhra Pradesh.
  11. ^ HC issues notice to crime branch-CID Archived 7 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine. The Times of India, 28 August 2003. "crime branch-CID of Tamil Nadu Police"
  12. ^ a b Crime Branch CID Archived 4 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Kerala Police, Official website.

External linksEdit