SOP released for newly formed cyber police stations in Delhi

In the backdrop of rising online crimes reported by citizens across the city, the Central government on November 17 notified the new police stations to tackle common online crimes such as phishing, cheating, child pornography, and online harassment, among others
The SOP which was circulated to all district police officers includes a timeline for handling each type of complaint, officers said. (Representational image)
The SOP which was circulated to all district police officers includes a timeline for handling each type of complaint, officers said. (Representational image)
Updated on Nov 25, 2021 01:21 AM IST
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Ahead of December 1, when the 15 newly created cyber cell police stations in each of the 15 police districts will start their operations, Delhi Police has issued a detailed standard operating procedure (SOP) for the police stations.

The SOP which was circulated to all district police officers includes a timeline for handling each type of complaint, officers said. For example, in cases of child pornography or harassing children by misusing their identity, it is mandatory to start processing the complaint, calling the victims, and getting in touch with the online service provider within 24 hours. The SOP shows that in case police do not find sufficient evidence to file an FIR, then the action taken report should be filed within 14 days,” reads the SOP circular.

Deputy commissioner of police (DCP) KPS Malhotra, head of the city’s cyber cell, now called the Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operations (IFSO), said, “ The dedicated stations will ensure that justice is delivered to complainants. Earlier, there were cyber cell teams in each district but now we will have dedicated stations. We urge residents to visit these stations with their complaints. The IFSO is also there to deal with complex cyber crimes that need investigation at a larger level.”

In the backdrop of rising online crimes reported by citizens across the city, the Central government on November 17 notified the new police stations to tackle common online crimes such as phishing, cheating, child pornography, and online harassment, among others.

Documents seen by HT shows that for each station a budget of around 2 crore, to buy forensic tools, has already been approved by the police headquarters. There will be at least 38 personnel tasked with investigations. The police station will be headed by an officer of the rank of assistant police commissioner and assisted by three inspectors, eight sub-inspectors and others.

To ensure that investigation of cyber crimes remains the only focus of these stations, personnel from the cyber crime police station will not be engaged in law and order duties, officers said.

For online frauds or cheating case, the time period given to the investigating officer is a week and the action taken report must be filed within five weeks, the SOP stated.

Since the pandemic lockdown last year, online crimes had seen a meteoric rise, police sources said. Police have in the past attributed the rise to more people working from homes and using the internet more, especially to shop. According to police data, while they received about 1,500 to 2,000 cyber crime complaints every month preceding the lockdown, the number of such cases during the lockdown, between April and August, 2020, increased to around 3,000 to 4,500 a month. The cases decreased once the lockdown restrictions were eased and the police currently get about 3,000 to 3,500 complaints every month.

Cyber Expert Amit Dubey said such police stations should have been started years ago. “ It is never too late though. We saw how cyber criminals across the country were active last year. Having cyber police stations will ensure that trained officers, who have skills and knowledge (unlike other police personnel posted in regular local stations) to deal with cyber frauds, are dealing with the cases. Police, however, must ensure that the cases are brought to a logical end at these stations. Crimes will only stop the day people are prosecuted.”

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