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 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.