The Civil Rights Enforcement Cell was created in Karnataka during the year 1974 with a Superintendent of Police heading the same. Later in view of the importance of the Cell, the post of a Deputy Inspector General of Police was created in order No.SWL 355 SSC 77 dated 4th February, 1978 to head the Cell for the effective implementation of the provisions of the PCR Act and also to achieve better overall control over the Superintendents of Police of the districts.
The Cell was again expanded in G.O. No.SWC 154 SSC 79, dated 16th October 1980 by creating Regional C.R.E. Cells at Bangalore, Mysore, Gulbarga and Belgaum for each of the four Revenue Divisions. Subsequently, in G.O.No. HD 297 PEG 88 dated 4.1.1989 the Government created the post of Inspector General of Police, C.R.E. Cell.
Later the post of the Inspector General of Police was upgraded to the rank of Additional Director General of Police and further during the year 1992 in Government Notification No. DPAR 175 SPS 92 dated 18-8-92 the post was further upgraded to the rank of Director General of Police and the CRE Cell was redesignated as the Directorate of Civil Rights Enforcement. However the post was reverted subsequently and currently this Unit is headed by an Officer of the rank of Additional Director General of Police.
After reorganisation The Directorate comprises of seven regions, each under the charge of a Superintendent of Police.