FU­TURE POLIC­ING

It is a vast and in­tri­cately net­worked world which com­pounds the prob­lem. The po­lice are yet not that equipped to take on the hideous cy­berspace in a very fool­proof man­ner.

The Hitavada - - THEOPINIONPAGE -

The in­ter­net is a very po­tent tool for com­mu­ni­ca­tion and con­nec­tiv­ity that fa­cil­i­tates life and makes day to day life’s deal­ings easy. But the same in­ter­net can also be used and is be­ing used by ter­ror­ists, fringe groups and other anti-so­cial out­fits for their ne­far­i­ous ends.

PRIME Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi re­cently drew the at­ten­tion of the coun­try’s top po­lice of­fi­cials to the prob­lems aris­ing out of so­cial me­dia and cy­ber crimes, say­ing th­ese should be dealt with on high­est pri­or­ity.

Speak­ing at the con­clud­ing day of the an­nual con­fer­ence of the DGPs and IGPs at the BSF Academy, Tekan­pur in Mad­hya Pradesh, the Prime Min­is­ter said that there was an emerg­ing global con­sen­sus to­wards greater in­for­ma­tion shar­ing on il­licit fi­nan­cial deal­ings and In­dia could play a key role in achiev­ing this.

Re­fer­ring to the rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion of youth, Modi urged the top po­lice of­fi­cers to use tech­nol­ogy to pin­point the prob­lem ar­eas. Around 250 top of­fi­cers from the State po­lice forces and Cen­tral po­lice or­gan­i­sa­tions par­tic­i­pated in the three­day meet. Modi said se­cu­rity can­not be achieved se­lec­tively, or alone, and for that break­ing of si­los and in­for­ma­tion shar­ing among States can help make ev­ery­one more se­cure.

Without a doubt, cy­ber se­cu­rity is one the main chal­lenges be­fore the po­lice in the mod­ern world of the com­mu­ni­ca­tion revo­lu­tion. Even as tech­nol­ogy is a boon, much de­pends on what use we bring it to. If in the wrong hands, tech­nol­ogy can cer­tainly turn into a bane.

The in­ter­net is a very po­tent tool for com­mu­ni­ca­tion and con­nec­tiv­ity that fa­cil­i­tates life and makes day to day life’s deal­ings easy. But the same in­ter­net can also be used and is be­ing used by ter­ror­ists, fringe groups and other anti-so­cial out­fits for their ne­far­i­ous ends. Here it be­comes tough for the po­lice and se­cu­rity agen­cies to track and se­cure the cy­ber world.

It is a vast and in­tri­cately net­worked world which com­pounds the prob­lem. It is much eas­ier to ma­te­ri­alise se­cret deal­ings and trans­fer data, info and money through the elec­tronic medium than phys­i­cal move­ment. The po­lice are yet not that equipped to take on the hideous cy­berspace in a very fool­proof man­ner.

Tech­nol­ogy is tak­ing strides by leaps and bounds and it is al­ways tough to keep up. The more our se­cu­rity sys­tem gets ahead, more ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies come up and take things a step fur­ther ahead. It is a peren­nial cat and mouse chase for the po­lice.

Ev­ery day, there is some­thing new to learn and in­te­grate, while ev­ery­day a new cy­ber­crime ap­pears some­where in a new garb, which again needs a new ap­proach to crack. In such a sit­u­a­tion, one big thing that can boost the ef­fi­ciency of cy­ber polic­ing is greater in­for­ma­tion shar­ing among de­part­ments and more open­ness is do­ing so.

This is what ex­actly the Prime Min­is­ter felt. The po­lice need to be more uni­fied and bet­ter co­or­di­nated. To­day, each State po­lice work al­most in iso­la­tion, obliv­i­ous of the de­vel­op­ments or hap­pen­ings even in the neigh­bour­ing State. This leads to lack of syn­chro­nised ac­tion when the need arises.

A crim­i­nal can eas­ily es­cape af­ter a crime from one State to another State and flour­ish there. It takes aeons for the two po­lice de­part­ments to get their acts to­gether and by that time the per­pe­tra­tor is nowhere to be found.

This hap­pens due to the lack of proper in­for­ma­tion shar­ing and reg­u­lar co-or­di­na­tion on se­cu­rity and vig­i­lance is­sues. If the po­lice de­part­ments were more friendly and in sync with each oth­ers’ de­vel­op­ments and probe trends etc, In­dian so­ci­ety could be a bit more se­cure.

The PM’s words may spur the of­fi­cials into ac­tion but such an ac­tion needs a con­certed ef­fort from all States and reg­u­lar mon­i­tor­ing by the Gov­ern­ment so that the model is sus­tained and a cul­ture of info shar­ing is de­vel­oped. Half-hearted and spo­radic ef­forts won’t take us any­where.

The cy­ber world is not frac­tured and it is a united in­for­ma­tion shar­ing plat­form which tran­scends bor­ders and be­liefs. The po­lice too need to break bar­ri­ers and bor­ders and work as a united force, es­pe­cially in the cy­ber world.

Track­ing, mon­i­tor­ing, sur­veil­lance etc are things which merit shared in­volve­ment and re­spon­si­bil­ity be­cause the anti-so­cial el­e­ments are not bound within a State or re­gion. They have net­work­ing far and wide and it is the elec­tronic space that is mostly used to­day to sus­tain that net­work.

If the po­lice work jointly as a col­lab­o­ra­tive force, ev­ery State po­lice will be more strength­ened and bet­ter equipped to track and nab an­ti­so­cial el­e­ments. The scope and abil­ity of the po­lice force have to be ex­panded and in­ten­si­fied for bet­ter polic­ing, keep­ing in tune with the needs of our times.

The days of tra­di­tional polic­ing are gone. Crim­i­nals to­day are much smarter and more mo­bile than their pre­de­ces­sors. The num­ber of so­cial me­dia plat­forms is ris­ing by the hour and con­nec­tiv­ity is much stronger to­day than what it was even five or years back.

But our cy­ber cells haven’t grown in that or­der and po­lice per­son­nel who are ex­perts in deal­ing with cy­ber crimes and versed in cy­ber laws are still very less in num­ber. Even we have cy­ber lawyers much lesser in num­ber than what we ac­tu­ally need and cy­ber laws too are still evolv­ing even as the loop­holes are many. Ev­ery new prob­lem poses new chal­lenges and de­mands newer laws.

The PM has in­tro­duced in­no­va­tions in the an­nual meet­ing of the top cops to make th­ese dis­cus­sions more fruit­ful and re­sult driven. Ear­lier, the meet­ing was held only in Delhi but the NDA has now taken it out of the re­gion. In last few years, the con­fer­ence has been held in places like Guwa­hati, Hyderabad and Rann of Kutch.

This has been a good step to­wards in­volv­ing other States and bring­ing them in the loop so that they also feel a part of the greater scheme of things. This will im­prove the co-or­di­na­tion be­tween the po­lice of dif­fer­ent States.

Modi said the new for­mat of the con­fer­ence had re­sulted in a marked im­prove­ment in the qual­ity of dis­cus­sions. There was a lot of co­he­sion in the ex­e­cu­tion. This is no longer a per­func­tory rit­ual. The PM wants to see ac­tion and his ef­forts are di­rected to­wards mak­ing the po­lice more re­spon­si­ble and ef­fec­tive.

Dis­cussing ways to add even more value to this con­fer­ence, the Prime Min­is­ter sug­gested that the fol­low up should con­tinue through work­ing groups, all the year round. In this con­text, he es­pe­cially em­pha­sised the im­por­tance of in­volv­ing younger of­fi­cers.

PM Modi said this would greatly help in im­prov­ing the ef­fec­tive­ness of the ex­er­cise. The young of­fi­cers bring in new ideas and pro­vide fresh an­gles to han­dling chal­lenges, which is very im­por­tant to keep the po­lice force re­ju­ve­nated and pro­gres­sive.

By the way, the Prime Min­is­ter has al­ways favoured the in­duc­tion and en­cour­age­ment of the young in the ad­min­is­tra­tive sys­tem so that they be­come ac­tive mem­bers of the na­tion­build­ing process and this sug­ges­tion of the PM is in line with that phi­los­o­phy. Newer chal­lenges need newer ideas, higher spir­its and bet­ter in­no­va­tions which only young promis­ing of­fi­cers can en­sure.

That’s the way to look for­ward.

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