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Cyber Crimes and Police Reforms: Do we agree that the Indian Police is fully equipped to fight cyber crimes

Police is a coercive arm of democracy and when the question comes from the police in the largest democracy in the world which is characterized by diversity in terms of ethnicity, religion and languages, the task of maintaining law and order becomes vital. From the very beginning, the maintenance of law and order has been a crucial and State by its wings maintained the order in society. But in present times, the society is marked by various advancements which lead to realization of the need for reformation in the conventional policing system.

The Indian police force is one of the most effective and biggest police forces, but it has been observed over time that persons feel hesitant and intimidated while registering a complaint with the police personnel and in many cases find the police ill- equipped to deal with the issues in a technologically advanced society.

Cyber- crimes are committed behind the blue screens of computer and have increased because of the increasing number of internet users in the country. Where Indian government is spreading the word for building ‘Digital India’ it`s crucial for us to think about the crimes emanating from it. Use of the internet for banking has increased the instances of cyber financial frauds. Issues of child pornography, child abuse on internet, cyber bullying, cyber stalking, stealing of personal information from trusted websites and platforms have increased. Where our ministers talk about strong security of aadhar which carries personal information of millions of countrymen, they do very less than they talk. Indian police has failed when it comes to solve the cases of cyber-crime on time.

Cyber Crimes in India are increasing and posing threats to the society as the criminals are often tech savvy and use highly standardized technology and softwares, which poses hurdles for the police and law enforcement agencies to find a solution to handle these crimes. Cyber criminals are everywhere and with due diligence and introducing reforms in our system we can combat these crimes. When we talk about bringing reforms the most important question that comes to mind is about implementation of the reforms. The Indian police department needs to implement the reforms in an efficient manner.

What is the first step that we should take after the crime has been committed? The correct step is to report the crime and to give all the details to police, so that police can start an investigation. When Cyber Crimes are committed and the victim gets to know about such a happening, he/she should report the crime to the police. Though Cyber Crime is not a new phenomenon in our country but still our police system is not equipped to provide good service to the citizens of our country when it comes to Cyber Crimes. This makes us think about having a helpline where all the victims can register their complaints of Cyber Crimes. A pragmatic approach is needed to start a Cyber Crime helpline to provide a resource for the victims to register their complaint, which can help in providing primary relief to the victims and police can start the investigation. The helpline provides the citizens with a reliable mechanism where they can submit all the information regarding the suspect and about the nature of crime and other important information. Setting up a helpline number would enable the police department to investigate the crime where the local police can collaborate with the industries and produce fast and effective results.

Indian police administration is a subject under the state list and many states are ahead in bringing and introducing innovative and effective reforms to handle Cyber Crimes in the respective states. The police administration of West Bengal sets an example by deliberating on the menace of Cyber Crimes and taking action to tackle it. The police department in West Bengal is deliberating on setting up of Cyber Crime police stations to provide all the appropriate technology and technicians to deal with the problems. It focuses on setting up of Cyber Crime fighting units depending on the area they emanate most from and preparing to send the proposals to the government to quicken the process of installing Cyber Crime fighting units as this menace is not ending but further increasing by time.

In forming policies to handle multifaceted challenges posed by Cyber Crime there is a need to have a strong mechanism to unleash the complicated mystery. Criminals use highly standardized and modern software in the criminal activities and also include many factors such as international jurisdiction, sometimes terrorist activities take place with the help of the internet and social media, which requires a collaborative and united effort of many officials and important ministries. A national conference was organized to deliberate upon the matter and Union Home Minister has announced setting up of Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Center (I4C) which is a smart and pragmatic approach which gives a hard blow on the crimes in India with a strong fist. A mechanism like I4C is significant and will help in solving cases in a more efficient way. In this local police can collaborate with technicians from all over the country and industries can also be helpful.

Once the complaint is registered with the local police by the helpline number set up for the purpose the local police can begin the primary investigation and the progress in the case can be monitored by the I4C which will provide all the resources as required and all the help. All the agencies set up for handling Cyber Crimes pan India can come together to work under the leadership of I4C. It has been suggested that I4C should have representatives of defense, finance and the ministry of external affairs also as Cyber Crimes pose threat to national security also which is of utmost importance and need to get rid of as soon as possible. I4C can bring all the agencies such as National Investigation Agencies, Central Police officials, State Police officials, policy makers, defense experts and experts in the field of technology.

After we talk about all kinds of reforms we should introduce to boost the handling of Cyber Crime cases in India, we should not forget the poor condition of our ill equipped police stations. Infrastructure becomes a very important requirement in providing solution to many problems relating to Cyber Crime or so. The Indian Police Administration needs smart police stations to fight crimes relating to information and communication technology. Rejuvenation of police stations would include upgrading of new equipment such as computers and all such electronic appliances and trained professionals to operate the appliances. Smart police stations would act as separate cyber cells where the professionals trained specifically for handling Cyber Crimes would be recruited to deal exclusively with these issues.

Police stations are building blocks of police administration in every country and their accessibility is very important so these smart police stations should be set up in every city and the setting up of these smart police stations should depend upon the frequency of crimes being committed in any area and also in the areas where there is apprehension of such crimes committed the most. Like other physical crimes where it is very easy to collect evidence, in the cases of Cyber Crime the criminal is behind the computer screen and it’s very difficult to collect evidence which makes it very difficult to investigate further or prove the guilt of the perpetrator, it becomes very important to solve these cases with due diligence and to put the offender behind the bars as there are chances of crime being committed again. With the liberal policies of government and increasing dependency on the internet many crimes have been decriminalized such as under Section 66 A of IT Act there was restrictions on the content being posted on online platforms such as social media but now these restrictions have been lessened and it is increasing the chances of misuse of internet.

By bringing the reforms we can try to revamp our old system and handle these issues in an effective manner. Implementation is very important step of bringing reforms and effective implementation would give true meaning to these reforms.