In India, every state has a power to constitute a Special Task Force (STF) to deal with certain problems. They are primarily formed due to lack of adequate police forces for a task, like major criminal, or criminal network or as a counter insurgency or anti-terrorism measure.
The states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka first raised Special Task forces in the 1980s to counter ivory poacher, Veerapan, whom the forces eventually killed in 2004 with Operation Cocoon. In late 1980s, such force were formed in Punjab to counter insurgency.
Special Task Force (India) Wikipedia
STF was first constituted by Uttar Pradesh police to control the exponentially increasing crime rates. The extortion and other illegal activities were at its all-time high. The STF proved to be very successful in capturing criminals and controlling crimes in UP. Since then it has been an integral part of UP police.
The special Task Force of UP Police was created vide GO No. 1889 (1) VI-Pu-2-98-1100 (35) dated 4.5.98 of UP Government for the following objectives:
- Collection of Intelligence about Mafia gangs and Intelligence based action against such gangs.
- Preparation of action plan and its execution against Disruptive Elements specially ISI agents.
- Action against listed gangs in coordination with district police.
- Effective action against gang of dacoits, especially inter district gangs.
- Effective action against inter district gangs of Organized criminals.
With the creation of the ATS, charter no 2, i.e., action for prevention of disruptive activities especially ISI agents has been transferred to the ATS.
The STF is headed by an Additional Director General rank officer, who is assisted by an Inspector General of Police. The STF works as teams, with each team headed by either an Additional SP or Deputy SP. The SSP is in-charge of all the operations conducted by the STF. STF has a pan-UP jurisdiction. Its teams also operate outside the state, with assistance of respective State police.
UP STF relies extensively upon human intelligence, technology and sophisticated tactics to achieve its objectives. Over its short lifetime of about 15 years, UP STF has an enviable history of boasting of 81 Police Medals of Gallantry awarded by the President of India and 60 officers being granted out-of-turn promotion for acts of conspicuous gallantry.
Another Special Task Force was constituted by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to nab forest bandits and sandalwood smugglers. This was very successful however other states didn't follow.
States of Bihar and Jharkhand also has a Special Task Force.
Kolkata Police also has a Special Task Force.