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Brain, not just brawn

Terrorist attacks, cyber strikes, white collar swindles or organized syndicates ? new-age crime has come to stay in India.

india Updated: Jun 15, 2006 02:02 IST

Terrorist attacks, cyber strikes, white collar swindles or organized syndicates — new-age crime has come to stay in India. And to ensure that our lawkeepers get the much-needed R&D muscle to outsmart criminals, the Union home ministry has directed the police forces of all states and central police organisations to put "institutionalised mechanisms" in place for research and development (R&D).

The ministry's whip does not come a day sooner. The Indian police force, with 22 lakh personnel, spent a little over Rs 1 crore of its annual budget of Rs 25,000 crore on research and development (R&D) in 2005-06. The defence forces, on the other hand, spent Rs 2,804 crore.

The home ministry is emphatic that the police need to invest more on research with a focus on terrorism, Naxal violence, organised, white collar and cyber crime. "In view of the changing security situation, both internally and at the international level, the police need to upgrade their functioning in terms of better technology and equipment,'' a senior ministry official said. As of now, most research on police operations is left to the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) with the central and state police being nowhere in the picture.

That should change for good. The ministry has now asked the state police and central paramilitary forces to set up R&D cells on key areas — procedures and practice that have become outdated, identifying proper and cost effective technology and equipment necessary for dealing with terrorism and insurgency and legal issues which hamper police work. The R&D units will also develop a database of different policing strategies in use in the world and suggest the ones that could be incorporated in Indian scenarios.

Initially, the home ministry will provide a minimum amount of Rs 50 lakh to all police units --- the force in each state as well as the BSF, CRPF and the like --- under the Police Modernisation Fund during financial year 2006-07 for research and development.