There is no authoritative record on the history of Police in ancient Kerala. To a great extent one has to rely upon the earliest literary documents starting from the Sanghom period (200 AD). The literary works of the Sanghom period, namely Akamkrithikal, Pathittipattu and Chilppathikaram, depict the ancient policing system. These works refer to the appointment of Sentries and watchmen who were posted on the highways to protect the travellers and caravans of merchants, etc. Chilappathikaram gives a detailed account of investigation of cases by a special group of people.
Those who were posted in the secret service section were described as 'Charan', 'Doothan', Apasarpakan and Goodapurushan.
The literary works of Sanghom period also describe various types of ''Kaval' (guard), Kanchukil (who had kanchukam or uniform), Harrikaran (Officer with designated duties), Souvidithon (one who attends Court duties), Vetradharan (Bodyguard of the King), Dwarapalakas (Armed men guarding the gates and entrance) and Darsaka or Prathihara (Personal assistant to the King, and Kolkaran (man armed with a stick). The feudal system which existed in ancient Kerala gave way to a new structure under the Cheras, comprising Thara, Desomand Nadu ruled by Madampi, Desavazhi and Naduvazhi respectively. They were entrusted with the job of law enforcement, including awarding of punishments. The said rulers awarded stringent punishments even for trivial offences and hence there was substantial decline in crime rate. Foreign travellers who visited Kerala during 13th century had admired the structure of the Police-judicial system which existed during that period.