The Institute of Criminology and Forensic Science was established by Government of India in 1972 within the Bureau of Police Research and Development following recommendations of the University Grants Commission (UGC) to setup a Central Institute for teaching Criminology and Forensic Science. The UGC had earlier set up an Expert Committee to suggest steps to bring 'Criminology' and 'Forensic Science' into the general stream of university education, pursuant to resolutions taken at UNESCO Symposium (London, 1955) that systematic understanding of Criminology and Forensic Science was necessary for Law Enforcement Officers and the Universities should be encouraged to include these disciplines in their curriculum.
The ICFS made humble beginning in 1972 by organizing 2 training courses for senior officers of the Central Justice System. In 1976 it became an independent Department directly under Ministry of Home Affairs with a wider mandate which included promotion of Criminology and Forensic Science through a variety of means. Since 1972, the institute has made significant headway in training and research in applied aspects of these two subjects. Over 34,000 officers from Police and Civil Administration, Prosecution, Judiciary, Correctional Administration, Customs, Defense Forces and Forensic Science Laboratories have attended various orientation and specialized courses at the institute. Officers from foreign countries, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Fiji, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Malaysia, Maldives, Sudan, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Uganda and Zambia have also participated in some of these courses. The institute has undertaken several research projects in Criminology and Forensic Science and it operates several schemes for promotion of Criminology and Forensic Science.
The institute was upgraded as National Institute in 1991 and in 2003 the institute was renamed after Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan. The institute also offers M.A. / M.Sc. Courses in Criminology and Forensic Science since 2004 in affiliation with Guru Gobin Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi. The institute has an Instrumentation wing and several laboratories having state-of the art equipment.
On 1st October 2020, the Government of India elevated the status of the University to a National University and thus, NFSU was established through National Forensic Sciences University Act. Simultaneously, NFSU was accorded the status of an Institution of National Importance (INI). With upgradation, the erstwhile GFSU turned into the Gujarat Campus of NFSU, and the Lok Nayak Jayprakash Narayan National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Sciences (LNJN-NICFS) at Rohini, New Delhi as another Campus. Apart from Gujarat and Delhi Campuses, six more campuses of NFSU have been set up in Goa, Tripura, Bhopal, Guwahati, Pune and Manipur. Presently, there are more than 5000 students studying in different undergraduate/postgraduate courses in the University.