The system of policing in Mughal India was organized on the basis of land tenure. Zamindars were responsible for apprehending disturbers of the public peace and performing other policing duties. At the level of the village these functions were performed by the village headmen.  In large towns administration of the police was entrusted to functionaries called kotwals who discharged the combined duties of law enforcement, municipal administration and revenue collection. Patrol officers in the shape of village watchmen or patels in villages and peons, horse patrolmen and such other like men in the towns were present. Violent organized crime was usually dealt with by the military. The British administration relieved the zamindars of their responsibility for police service and introduced magistrates with daroghas and other subordinate officers for Police purposes. The next major change in the organization of police took place in Sindh where Sir Charles Napier drawing inspiration from the Irish constabulary developed a separate and self contained police organization for the province. The Sindh Model was put into effect in Bombay in 1853 and in 1859 in Madras.
In Punjab, the Police was also organized on the pattern of Sindh but with two main branches, the Military Preventive Police and the Civil Detective Police.  As this arrangement was found unsatisfactory, the Government of India appointed a commission to enquire into whole question of policing in British India in 1860. This Commission recommended the abolition of the military arm of the Police, appointment of an Inspector General of Police in the Province and the placement of Police in a district under the District Superintendent who shall be responsible to the District Magistrate for his duties.  Based on these recommendations, the Government of India submitted a bill which was passed into law as Act V of 1861.  The Police Act of 1861 was adopted by all the provinces except Bombay where a District Police Act was adopted in 1890.  The organizational design that followed the Act survives to this day. Police became a subject to be administered by the provinces that were divided into police jurisdictions corresponding with the districts and the divisions. The police were made exclusively responsible for prevention and detection of crime. In the maintenance of public order they were responsible to the District Magistrate. The legal framework of the police under went a major change as a consequence of Devolution of Power Plan introduced through the Punjab Local Government Ordinance 2001. Among other things, the plan called for the introduction of Public accountability of the police.  Accordingly the office of the District Magistrate was abolished in 2001 and a system of Public Safety and Police Complaints Commissions was introduced.  These changes were incorporated into a new Police Law which was promulgated in 2002. Apart from Public Safety Commissions, the Police Order 2002 also provided for oversight functions of the Zilla Nazims, Citizen Police Liaison Committees, increased powers for the Inspector General of Police, organization of police on functional basis and separation of the watch and ward and the Investigation functions of the Police.