How To Become An SP in Police: A Complete Guide

Are you someone who wishes to work with law and order and contribute to its uplifting? Then this article is for you. We will discuss how to become an SP and build a career in the police force.

Needless to say, since a superintendent of police is one of the most important persons in charge of the police force, the road to becoming one is challenging but always rewarding.

Let us discuss this entire process, starting with understanding how exactly an SP contributes to the law and order system, and then proceed accordingly.

Brief Overview Of The Role Of a Superintendent Of Police (SP)

Before proceeding with further details, let us first try to place the position of an SP into the law and order hierarchy for clarity. A Superintendent of Police is someone who is in charge of a rural police district and heads a team of various junior police officers. They report directly to the district magistrate and are responsible for the law and order of their designated district or village.

The SP holds the third rank in the IPS hierarchy, which is preceded by the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Inspector General of Police (IG), and followed by other lower ranks. With career progression, the area assigned to an SP changes from a village to sometimes an entire state, like when they become an IG. Hence, an SP is expected to ensure the rules of law as per the demographic assigned and act accordingly.

Role And Responsibilities Of An SP

Now that we can place an SP in the police hierarchy, let us quickly understand their responsibilities and contribution towards the smooth functioning of our society.

  • An SP’s most important duty is to keep the crime rate of their assigned district in check. They control such incidents by investigating the crime quickly to ensure the perpetrator is brought to justice. Furthermore, they are always vigilant and ensure thorough police patrolling every day to maintain peace.
  • Their job is not only limited to patrolling or investigating. They not only oversee various crime surveillance operations but also head the same to detect and stop criminal activities,
  • An SP is a beacon of hope for the law-abiding citizens. They address grievances and act accordingly to ensure the justice system never fails a citizen.
  • Being an SP also entails making detailed crime reports to aid future investigations and formally document the one in hand.
  • Apart from maintaining the sanctity of a district, they are also responsible for the smooth functioning of the police force and are in charge of all administrative duties.
  • They are held responsible to act in the favor of the citizens in case of a crisis and impose restrictions accordingly.

Step By Step Guide – How to Become An SP

Now that we know who is an SP and what they are expected to do, let us now see how you can become one. It is of utmost importance to remember that this job requires not only passion but a certain amount of courage to function, as you can be exposed to any kind of threat at any time. However, if you are ready for such a challenge, you need to follow the below steps to become one.

  • If you wish to become a Collector you have to sit for the IPS exam. Furthermore, to sit for the IPS exam conducted by the Union Public Service Commission you must complete your graduation degree.
  • Once you have completed your graduation and cracked the IPS exam, you are expected to clear the interview round.
  • Once you have crossed the above hurdles, and passed your medicals, you will be introduced to the world of the Indian Police Force and will be sent to your respective training centers.
  • Once you establish your merit and conquer the training as a true leader, you will be appointed as the DSP. Your performance and seniority will determine your eligibility for promotion as an SP.

Now that we know, the steps that we need to follow to be a part of the elite Indian Police Force. Let us now check if you are eligible for the same through the below points.

Eligibility Criteria

If you wish to sit for the IPS, here are the things that you need to keep in mind.

  • You must have an undergraduate degree to be considered eligible.
  • The specified age limit for a general candidate to be able to sit for the exam is between 21–32 years and for OBC and SC/ST candidates, the upper age limit is 35 and 37 respectively.
  • One of the most critical things that you need to keep in check for applying to a post like this or sitting for an exam like IPS is the set medical standards. This includes normal nasal and ear function along with no issues with blood pressure. You can check further details on the UPSC website.

Now that we know what is expected of you to become an SP, let us now look at the IPS exam in detail to understand and prepare accordingly.

IPS Entrance Exam

The exam is divided into two parts, known as the Preliminary and Mains, followed by the personal interview. A candidate must pass the Preliminary Exam to be considered eligible to sit for the Mains.

The Preliminary exam is objective in nature and is of 200 marks. It is divided into two parts with a time limit of two hours. However, even though it is a multiple-choice question paper, it tests the depth of your knowledge on the below topics:

Paper I:

  • Current events of national and international importance
  • History of India and the Indian National Movement
  • Indian and World Geography
  • Indian Polity and Governance
  • Economic and Social Development
  • Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity, and Climate Change
  • General Science

Paper II:

  • Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills, including communication skills
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision-making and problem-solving
  • General mental ability
  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, graphs, charts).

Check also: UPSC Exam

Once you have cracked the Preliminary exam, the Mains exam is heldtwo or three months later and is divided into nine papers. This includes two qualifying papers (A and B), and seven merit-based papers (I to VII). The papers test you on the below topics:

Qualifying Papers:

  • Paper-A: Indian Language (A candidate can choose any language listed in the constitution).
  • Paper-B: English (Qualifying)

Merit-Based Papers:

  • Paper-A – Indian Language
  • Paper-B – English
  • Paper 1 – Essay
  • Paper 2 – General Studies- I (Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society)
  • Paper 3 – General Studies – II (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations)
  • Paper 4 – General Studies – III (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management)
  • Paper 5 – General Studies – IV (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude)
  • Paper 6 – Optional Subject-Paper I
  • Paper 7 – Optional Subject-Paper 2

Once you have successfully passed these two papers, you will be called for a face-to-face interview of 275 marks. The purpose of the interview is to assess your skills and test you on certain qualities.

Tips For Preparation

The best way to crack an exam like IPS is to treat it like any other ordinary exam.

All you have to do is focus on the topics that you will be tested on and prepare yourself accordingly. However, you can surely follow the below points whenever you are in doubt or the road ahead seems tough.

  • Like any other exam, make sure that you are well aware of the previous year’s questions. It will help you in gaining insights into what kind of questions you can expect.
  • Secondly, always remember to revise whenever you are done with the topic. Since you will be dealing with multiple topics, it is of utmost importance to make sure you are retaining knowledge.
  • Another important thing that you should remember is to be always updated with your current affairs whenever you’re sitting for an exam as important as IPS.
  • Lastly, always remember to take ample breaks in between your preparation so that you do not overburden yourself.

Always remember that, like any other exam, it is nothing but a set of questions that can be easily solved if you’re well-versed with the syllabus.

Training and Probation

Needless to say, since the position of an IPS or an SP is one of the most critical positions to ensure law and order in a state, the training process is lengthy and demanding.

It is divided into various phases to ensure that a candidate inculcates the values and the skills that they need to protect the Indian penal code and its citizens.

As guardians of law, they need to go through training in four different phases in four different locations in India to ensure that they are capable of performing such a huge duty. Let us quickly look at the training phases.

  • Foundation Course: The foundation course training takes place at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA), Mussoorie. It is for three months.
  • Phase I Training: The phase 1 training usually lasts for one year and takes place in Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy (SVPNPA), Hyderabad.
  • District Practical Training: As the name suggests, this is a hands-on six-month training that exposes future officers to real-life situations in their respective UPSC cadre.
  • Phase II Training: The last leg of the training helps them combine their practical knowledge to understand and acquire new skills to deal with crisis management at SVPNPA, Hyderabad. The Phase II training is typically of six months too.

Skills and Qualities Needed

Now you know what you have to do, and the entire process that you need to go through to become an SP. Hence, it is now time to understand and analyze the required skills and the expected behavior of a candidate who aspires to be one.

  • Firstly, to be considered eligible as we have discussed earlier, it is of utmost importance that a candidate is physically fit.
  • Secondly, it is of utmost importance for a candidate to have the ability to lead a team. The quality of being a leader and being responsible for their actions is one of the most important criteria.
  • A candidate aspiring to be an SP must have high analytical skills and also a higher emotional intelligence compared to others. a job like this will always expose one to stressful and traumatic situations.
  • Being responsible for an entire district requires a high level of resilience and mental toughness to stay calm under pressure. Furthermore they must possess the confidence to stick through their decision no matter the situation.
  • It is of critical importance that a candidate who is willing to become an SP has an in-depth understanding of the Indian penal court and all the relevant laws.
  • Furthermore, an ideal candidate needs to be unbiased and free of any prejudice towards anyone to ensure the sanctity of justice.


I hope this article helped you understand the route that you need to take to become an SP.

A country can only thrive in its true full sense when its youth takes up important positions and works hard towards the betterment of society. Hence, I wish you all the best in your journey.

I hope this article will give you the much-needed insight and the next steps for you to follow.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are the age limits for becoming an SP?

In order to become an SP a general candidate must be aged between 21-35 years. Whereas, a candidate from the SC/ ST and OBC have a three and five year relaxation respectively.

2. How can I prepare for the civil services exam to become an SP?

To sit for the civil service examination to become an SP you must get acquainted with the IPS exam pattern and syllabus and start preparing accordingly.

3. What is the training process for an SP?

The training process for an SP is divided into four phases, which are Foundation Course – LBSNAA, Phase I of Training – SVPNPA, District Planning Training and Phase II Training.

4. How long is the probation period for an SP?

The probation period for an SP after being selected as IPS officer is usually of two years.

5. What are the promotion criteria for an SP in the police force?

The promotion criteria for an SP in the police force depends on seniority and performance. However, it is also dependent on clearing inter department exams and trainings.

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