A Collection of Medals to the Indian Police

Date of Auction: 25th March 2014

Sold for £400

Estimate: £400 - £450

A K.P.M. group of three awarded to Inspector-General of Police Michael Kennedy, Indian Police (Bombay Presidency)

King’s Police Medal, G.V.R., 1st issue (Michael Kennedy, Insp. Gen., Ind. Pol. (Bombay Pres.)) on 1st type’ ribbon; Coronation 1911, silver; Delhi Durbar 1911, silver, both unnamed, good very fine and better (3) £400-450


K.P.M. London Gazette 3 January 1911.

Citation: ‘This officer’s 32 years service has been distinguished by remarkable ability and efficiency and his wide experience and sound judgement has been of great value in the reorganisation of the Bombay Police Department.’

Michael Kennedy was born on 26 March 1859, the third son of General Sir Michael Kennedy, R.E. He was educated at Wellington School and joined the Bombay Presidency Police on 8 March 1877, aged 18 years.

Kennedy served in various districts within the Bombay Presidency, initially at Khandesh as an Assistant Superintendent of Police. In 1880 Kennedy was based out of Keladgi on special service against frontier Dacoits.

‘On the whole, the Belgaum Police displays marked improvement. This is creditable to Mr. M. Kennedy, who held the office of Police Superintendent from 5th March to the end of the year under review’ - Police Reports of the Bombay Presidency 1882.

‘Mr. M. Kennedy, the Superintendent of Police of this district, captured after a desperate resistance the notorious daring dacoit and outlaw Katti Chenna in the village of Joolkatti in His Highness the Nizam's territory, his gang was broken up by the Belgaum police and 38 of his accomplices in the Belgaum district alone were brought to justice within the past two years, he himself had had narrow escapes on more than one occasion and was at large with a reward of Rs1000 offered for his arrest. The honour of capturing him was reserved for Mr Kennedy himself.’ - Police reports of the Bombay Presidency including the Province of Sind 1885.

Appointed Superintendent January 1885 whilst serving at Kaladgi.

From 44 Years a Public Servant by Charles Kincaid, ‘The sessions judge Poona (T.D. Fry) was an unhappy dipsomaniac, he was always drunk on the bench and fearing that the High Court Judge would if he saw it detect the feebleness of his work he summed up always in favour of an acquittal. The Poona juries, usually inclined to acquit, readily fell in with the judge's views and found every prisoner not guilty.

This state of things soon reached the ears of the Kolis and they joyfully banded themselves into gangs of dacoits and ravaged the northern half of the district The able District Superintendent of Police, Mr
Michael Kennedy, was in despair. It was useless to catch dacoits if they were constantly let off. He took the strong step of reporting the district judge to the government. An enquiry was held and Mr Fry was reduced to be Assistant.’

Variously serving at Kaladgi, Dharwar, Kathiawar, Bijapur, Ahmadnagar, Shikarpur and Poona, he was promoted to Superintendent 1st Grade in April 1901.

In 1902 The Frazer Commission was appointed by the British Government to review the Policing in British India and to recommend suggestions for improvement in Police Department. When Lord Curzon's Police Commission visited Poona in 1903, Mr. Kennedy was chosen for special duty as the representative local member. As part of the commission Kennedy examined the police department structure in Bombay and made recommendations for reorganisation. One change was the establishment of the C.I.D. as a separate branch, at the time Kennedy was Deputy Inspector-General responsible for Railways and Criminal Investigation.

In 1903 the Frazer Commission submitted its report to Government. One important recommendation of the Commission was that a separate Crime Branch should be created for each Presidency under direction and control of the Inspector General of Police. Mr.J.E.Down, Inspector General of Police of Bombay Presidency from 1897 to June 1905, had assisted the Frazer Commission in drafting recommendations for improvement in policing.

In June 1905 Government implemented recommendations of the Frazer Commission and appointed Mr.R.B.Stewart as Inspector General of Police for Bombay Presidency. Mr.J.E.Down was downgraded as Deputy.Inspector General of Police and appointed as Head of the Railways and Criminal Investigation, created newly as per the recommendation of the Frazer Commission.

Mr.J.E. Down was unhappy with the effective demotion and resigned his post and returned to England. The Deputy Inspector General of Railways and C.I.D. post being awarded to Michael Kennedy, whom up to that point had been serving as Superintendent of Police, Poona District. Kennedy, submitted his proposal to the Government, regarding structure and functioning of the C.I.D..

When Herbert G. Gell, Commissioner of the Bombay Presidency Police was granted furlough in 1904, Michael Kennedy on returning from leave himself acted as Police Commissioner, Bombay, for six months. In June 1905 Kennedy was promoted to be I.G.P of Sind and then in August, the I.G.P of Poona. Kennedy served as I.G.P. of Bombay, 1909-15.

He wrote and had published his book Criminal Classes in Bombay Presidency, Bombay 1908, this book was intended to act as a guide to police and other interested parties as to the habits and customs of the so called criminal castes in Bombay and its environs.

In 1911 Kennedy was awarded the K.P.M., one of the first to be awarded to the Indian Police and was made a Companion of the Order of the Star of India on 12 December 1911 as part of the Durbar awards. He retired from the force in 1915.

With copied service papers and other research.