Special Police Officers (SPO) (India)

Country: India
Details of Formation: SPOs are organized on the state level. Jammu and Kashmir was the first state to deploy them in 1990. The state provides basic training and a small payment but SPOs are on their own afterwards - resembling a village defence force.
Details of Termination: It is reported that Kashmir and Jammu terminated the SPOs in 2008, and Chhattisgarh was ordered to do so by the Supreme Court in 2011, but avoided this by amending legislation. The group is still active in 2014.
Purpose: The main goal of the group is to provide security, protect the population from rebel attacks and counter insurgents. Targets of the group varied in different regions, e.g. Naxalites in Chhattisgarh, terrorist groups in Manipur, and Maoist groups more broadly. It ran and guarded camps, gathered information and assisted the police.
Organisation: The group is formally controlled by the official police, but it seems to operate largely autonomously. While it does assist in police operations, the PGM is not part of the regular police. The group seems to have a link to Salwa Judum.
Weapons and Training: The government provides training as well as weapons to the group. According to a report, training lasts less than a month and includes instructions on setting up an ambush, the use of weapons and physical exercise.
Size: --
Reason for Membership: It is reported that the salary is a primary incentive for villagers to join the group, as well as career prospects in the regular police.
Treatment of Civilians: The PGM has been accused of killing, injuring and extorting civilians, as well as human rights abuses more generally. It is reported that the group recruited children.
Other Information: In Chhattisgarh and Manipur members are mostly recruited from tribal groups. In Chhattisgarh, the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional to use SPOs to fight Naxals. However, SPOs are still active in Chhattisgarh as the state government simply rechristened the group as auxiliary constables.
References: Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD.