Soon, cops to get training in tackling cybercrime

In next 5 years, select personnel in all police stations across country to be imparted a minimum level of training in cybercrime investigation

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Ankita Lahiri | March 19, 2014



As cybercrime cases multiply in India, experts say there is a need for sensitisation of law enforcement and increase in capacity building among officials tackling such cases.

In the next five years, select cops in all 14,600 police stations across the country will be imparted a minimum level of training in cybercrime investigations. That will lead to five trained professionals in each police station of metropolitan cities such as Delhi and Mumbai, three trained officials in each semi-urban police station, and two in rural police branches, Loknath Bahera, IGP Bureau of Police Research and Development, India, said. 

Speaking on behalf of the law enforcement agencies, Muktesh Chander, joint commissioner of police (security), Delhi Police, said: “We have a very generalistic culture here (in India). Earlier only an officer of the level of a DSP and above was authorised to investigate a (cyber) crime case (as per norms in the earlier version of IT Act). Then, when the Act was amended, it was revised to an inspector and above.”

Chander pointed out that an investigator needs to be an expert in his/her field but the norm in India was such that a sub-inspector was transferred from one department to another; armed battalion to VIP duty to cybercrime, and so forth. There was, thus, no culture of specialisation.
“The investigator does not receive any kind of (specialised) training as such. How is he supposed to fully understand what he is investigating?” Chander asked.

He explained that cybercrime should be a beat in itself.

Police personnel involved in cybercrime also face a hurdle in factors such as their attitude, he said. According to Chander, the police see cybercrime as relatively low-priority beat compared to crimes such as rape and murder.

Coupled with this attitude is the problem of forensic tools. Behera highlighted that forensic equipment available in the country are either too slow or too expensive for most police stations to acquire. Citing an example, he said, “Windows came out with their new operating system (but) we had no forensic tool for that. It was developed after 18 months. So for 18 months we had no way of analysing this new operating system.”

According to Navneet R Wasan, additional director general, National Investigations Agency, training is an imperative component that is so far missing. “There is a need for sensitised capacity building,” he said. “The police still look at cybercrime like theft cases. They (officials) need to act not as individual investigators but rather as part of a team. They need to know how to capture evidence, because that itself becomes an issue that is challenged in court by the defence.” 

However Chander noted that the police are prepared to take on challenges. It was just a matter of time before they are fully prepared. In time, all these shortcomings will be streamlined.

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