Tech-tonic shift: Police use gadgets to check crime | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Tech-tonic shift: Police use gadgets to check crime

mumbai Updated: Jul 25, 2011 01:29 IST
Mohamed Thaver

Technical intelligence has become one of the most important investigative tool used by the city police, say officials. This tech dependence has to some extent even replaced human intelligence, read the informer network or khabris, over the past few years.

The police now rely a lot on technology - close circuit cameras (CCTVs), cellphone call records, internet - reducing their dependence on the informer network. "When CCTV cameras were not that common and the use of mobile phones was limited, the police relied heavily on their khabris," he added.

The images captured by the CCTVs at the scene of crime, be it a case of theft, robbery or murder, provide important clues. The CCTVs installed near the Khau Galli at Opera House had captured three men loitering around for about an hour on the day of the blasts. This was one of the first few important leads that the investigative teams received after the July 13 triple blasts.

"We investigate the CCTV footage and call data records as primary leads. Human intelligence too is helpful but not at par with technical intelligence," said inspector Vilas Shinde from Tilak Nagar police station.

While some officers are of the view that the police do not take as much effort to cultivate khabris, for others it is a matter of economics. "We need to pay the khabris on a regular basis to get information. We find it difficult to run our houses with the measly salary we get, so how will we manage informers," said an officer at a central Mumbai police station. This reliance on technology is not just because of monetary reasons, but the evidence can be used in the trial as well. He added, "The CCTVs and mobile call records can be used as evidence in the case which is an added advantage."

Former Mumbai police commissioner Julio Ribeiro said, "Technical intelligence has become very common, but it would be wrong to believe that human intelligence is irrelevant now. The khabri network is very much in place."