In the wake of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis asking the police to increase monitoring of social media, special squads dedicated to investigate cyber crimes will soon be operational in each of the 93 police stations in Mumbai, early next month. These cyber squads will aim to take the load off the existing two cyber police stations, as well as allowing citizens to lodge cyber crime complaint at the closest police station.
At the annual meeting of Maharashtra Police senior officers on Wednesday, Fadnavis said social media labs had to be better equipped to increase their efficiency. He added that acquisition of advanced monitoring systems would be funded.
“We are in the process of identifying tech-savvy officers across the city for our cyber squads,” said Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria.
At present, cyber crime cases are largely probed by the Cyber Police Station in Bandra-Kurla Complex and the Cyber Crime Investigation Cell located in Crawford Market, which are specially equipped to probe cyber crimes.
“We want to make each police stations self-sufficient in handling cyber crime. At present, police stations are dependent on help from cyber police stations and the cyber crime investigation cells that provide technical assistance,” Maria said.
Each team will comprise a sub-inspector and two constables. “After identifying the officers, we will train them for two days before the squads become operational. We will be using our existing manpower for the squads. We will only need to equip them with a laptop and an internet connection. The teams will be operational in about 15 days,” Maria said.
There was a three-fold increase in cyber crime cases registered in Mumbai between 2013 and 2014. Between January 1 and October 31 this year, 418 cases were registered under the Information Technology Act, with 142 people arrested. In the same period last year, the police registered 136 cases and made 86 arrests.
Of the cyber crimes recorded this year, maximum were related to e-mails and SMSes with obscene content.
This year, 104 cases of obscene e-mails and SMSes were registered in the city, up from 28 last year. Until October 31 this year, the police recorded 103 cases of credit card fraud or cheating, compared to 27 in the corresponding period in 2013, revealed data available with the Mumbai Police.