Criminal Investigation Department

This article is about the British police. For other uses, see Criminal Investigation Department (disambiguation).
Charles Vincent, founder of the Metropolitan Police CID

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is the branch of all territorial police forces within the British Police, and many other Commonwealth police forces, to which plain clothes detectives belong. It is thus distinct from the Uniformed Branch and the Special Branch.

In 1854, with an increasing amount of detective work to be done, Nottingham Borough Police set up the county's first CID section.

The Metropolitan Police Service CID, the first such organisation, was founded in 1878 by C. E. Howard Vincent. Originally, it was under the direct command of the Home Secretary, but since 1888 has been under the authority of the Commissioner.



CID officers are required to have had at least two years as a uniformed officer before applying to transfer to the branch and receive further training when they do so.[1] While training they are referred to as a Trainee Detective Constable (TDC)[2] and after completing the national Initial Crime Investigators' Development Programme, typically taking around two years, they become a fully fledged Detective Constable (DC). CID officers are involved in investigation of major crimes such as rape, murder, serious assault, fraud, and any other offences that require complex detection[3] 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 Detective Constables (DC) with a Detective Sergeant (DS) in overall command. In larger stations many DCs, DSs and Detective Inspectors will be present under the overall responsibility of the Detective Chief Inspector.

Ranks and Remuneration

Contrary to 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 Criminal Investigation Department (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 uniform 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 – and of course the much more interesting and rewarding work within the CID environment. Since the advent of 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. 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.

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 "Detective Duty Allowance" – a small payment intended to allow officers to purchase refreshments and other similar petty cash purposes as they spent long hours away from their place of work and "Plain Clothes Allowance" – an allowance used to purchase suitable clothing have all been withdrawn over the past few years.

Special Investigation Branch

Although the British Armed Forces Military Police have an investigations department, it is not called "CID". All three service military police forces operate Special Investigation Branches (SIB) which fulfill much the same role as the civilian CID.

The Army SIB has regular sections and one Territorial Army section made up of civilian SIB detectives and ex-regulars to assist them in major cases.[4]

In other countries

Ireland (Republic of)

Irish Free State

The Criminal Investigation Department (Ireland) 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)

The CID is headed by the Polica Brigadier General of Burma. CID responsibility is to do a very difficult crime investigation (murder, robbery, firearm, and major theft).


The Criminal Investigation Department of the Royal Malaysian Police is involved with the investigation, arrest and prosecution for crimes that afflict humans (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 Kong

Hong Kong Police Force's CID is sub-branch unit within the Criminal Intelligence Bureau under the Crime Wing of the "B" Department (Crime & Security).


The Criminal Investigation Department in Pakistan are 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 CID in Asia Division (CIDA) was a division of this department, but is currently not operational.It had only 12 members KT, ST, ADK, RK, SKN, AA, ZA, SGP, IK, TR, WQP,SA the names of which are not available because of security issues.

Sri Lanka

The Criminal Investigation Department of the Sri Lanka Police Service is responsible for carried out investigations into crimes, including murders and organised crime. It was established in 1870.[5]


The Singapore Police Force Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is the agency for premier investigation and staff authority for criminal investigation matters within the Singapore Police Force.[6]


"Crime Branch" redirects here. For the 1989 Malayalam film, see Crime Branch (film).

Crime Branch CID (Crime Investigation Department) (sometimes known as Investigation Branch) is a specialised wing in many state police forces in India of their Crime Investigation Department (CID).[7][8][9] Personnel attached to this wing essentially work in plain clothes or Mufti. Other branches of the CID are, State Crime Investigation Bureau, Finger Print Bureau and Scientific Section.[7]

Like their counterparts in the Law and Order police, Crime Branch has its own ranks right up to the level of Additional Director General of Police or Special Commissioner of Police.[10] 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).

Crime Branch's tasks are to investigate criminal cases, which spans across multiple districts or even states. The CB CID may also take up complicated cases like communal riot cases, circulation of counterfeit currency, or very complicated murder cases.[10] The local police along with their normal duties, would find it tough to allot men to these complicated cases. 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 also vice versa. Crime Branch is different from Crime Detachment or Crime Sq­. Crime Detachment and Crime Sq­ s, are a group of regular law and order police men (who generally would wear the uniform) specifically detailed by the Police Inspector to work in plain clothes to keep a tab on local hoodlums, prostitutes, petty thieves and other habitual offenders.



Germany, Austria and Switzerland

Main article: Kriminalpolizei

Kriminalpolizei is the standard term for the criminal investigation agency within the police forces of Germany, Austria & 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 also


  1. "".
  2. Waldren, Michael J. (2007). Armed Police, The Police Use of Firearms since 1945. England: Sutton. p. 224. ISBN 0-7509-4637-7.
  3. "". The types of serious crimes that they investigate are murders, serious assaults, robberies, fraud, and sexual offences. CID may also assist in the investigation of less serious crimes like theft.
  4. "RMP(V) Specialist Units". MoD. 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. 1 2 UP CID Uttar Pradesh Police, Official website.
  8. Crime Branch CID Govt. of Andhra Pradesh.
  9. HC issues notice to crime branch-CID The Times of India, 28 August 2003. "crime branch-CID of Tamil Nadu Police"
  10. 1 2 Crime Branch CID Kerala Police, Official website.

External links

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