The Railway Watch & Ward had its Origin as long as 1882 when the Railway Companies then in existence appointed their own Chowkidars for each Department. This arrangement was found to be on the whole fairly satisfactory till 1918 when with an increase in traffic there was a steep rise in the incidence of thefts of goods entrusted to Railways for carriage which led to the Government of India to appoint a committee to enquire into causes thereof and suggest a remedy.
Acting on the Committee's recommendations, most of the Class I Railways reorganized their Watch & Ward as a separate unit under a superior officer. But this too proved inadequate, and in the situation coming in the wake of the Second World War, losses due to thefts and claims that had to be paid by Railways assumed such size as to need serious attention. This situation was not peculiar to Railway premises only but was a part of the general crime situation in the country. The Watch & Ward units were found to be hopelessly inadequate for the purpose for which they were intended.