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Pune on my mind: Pune police commissioner K Venkatesham says, city police using digital technology to crack cases

The team of deputy commissioner of police (DCP) cybercrime Sambhaji Kadam has taken up the task of clearing the 162 pending cases under Information Technology Act, 2000, registered at various police stations said Venkatesham

pune Updated: Jul 12, 2019 16:01 IST
K Venkatesham
K Venkatesham
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Pune on my mind,Pune police
K Venkatesham, Pune police commissioner. (Illustration: Shrikrishna Patkar)(HT/PHOTO)

An area where we have made considerable progress is handling cybercrime cases. Earlier, a person used to go to a police station with a cyber complaint only to be directed to a cyber cell and back to police station. Reason: we did not had the facility of registration of cybercrimes at cyber police station. The drawback left the complainant to not pursue the case. Now, a designated officer will not only handle the complaint, but will also investigate and close it. Or someone from within the team, who knows about the work done so far, will investigate it. We have 23 staff members, five police inspectors and eight assistant/sub inspectors as part of cybercrime team. These cases are being registered and investigated by local police stations as well and both the station and the cell team up to address the complaints.

The team of deputy commissioner of police (DCP) cybercrime Sambhaji Kadam has taken up the task of clearing the 162 pending cases under Information Technology Act, 2000, registered at various police stations. We have identified certain geographical spots, in the city and outside, where specific kind of frauds has been committed repeatedly. With the rise in number of cybercrimes, we are planning to increase manpower at cyber police station, besides training our staff to handle these cases.

CCTV security

As of today, there are around 26,000 security cameras — 24,930 private and 1,300 cameras through Smart City initiative — at our disposal. These cameras have helped us solve two murders and one housebreaking case. It is an additional layer of prevention. These cameras are geo-tagged. The videos captured from these cameras help us in visualising. For example, if there is an offence at X spot, control room gets a call, and then the investigating officer reaches the location. By the time the staff reaches and conducts preliminary investigation, the personnel will get information on mobile phone about the CCTV cameras available to him in the nearby area; be it within 500 metres or 1,000 meters. This facility makes investigation easier for the officer.

These CCTV footages help us not only in detection, but also in court. Depending on the quality of the material collected and relevance to the crime, sometimes we may also use it in the prosecution of a case.

Digital power

Digital investigation and chargesheet are also on the rise. In zone-1, we have carried out about 120 cases where the entire process — from first information report (FIR) to chargesheet submission — has been done digitally. Understanding of technology, procedure and protocols were some of the teething problems that we faced. However, DCP Suhas Bawche of zone-1 has taken pains to explain the procedure to all his officers. He held their hands through the entire process. We referred to the Information Technology Act as well as some of the judgements of the honourable Supreme Court while doing this.

Traffic and public transport

Traffic in Pune has been another area of interest for us. Fatal accidents have reduced by 23 per cent as compared to previous year. But, at the same time, more than 100 people have died till July this year as compared to 138 last year. Our target is to achieve 50 per cent less, whereas the world is talking about zero road fatalities. Citizen participation and use of Satark Punekar application is increasing. Satark Punekar application is specially designed so that people could report violations happening on road. The number of complaints or information inputs has increased. We are continuously acting upon it and reviewing our work.

One of the major challenges in Pune has been synchronised signals and lack of sufficient public transport. No matter how many measures we may take, these two factors will be dragging us down in reducing the number of traffic congestion. We have had four convergence meetings (with various departments, including the Pune Municipal Corporation) so far and the response has been positive.

Apart from the convergence meetings, which take place at the commissioner and municipal commissioner level, every week the officers of the traffic police department and the corporation sit together and discuss issues and possible solutions. These initiatives are helping us synergise the efforts and provide a better service to the city.

Passport facility

In the form of service to residents, we have brought the number of days required for passport processing down to an average of five days. This is one of the best in the country. There are two major things that have happened — process re-engineering and use of technology. The transmission of your application from passport office to the verification officer has speeded up. The protocol is set and officers are trained on tablet computers given to them. Taking care of loopholes in the system is also a continuous process.

My experience in Pune has been fantastic. Our staff is doing exceedingly well. Some of the initiatives that we have come up with have become a hit among residents. We are now able to provide better services on many fronts. Fatal accident reduction, passport verification within five days, and successful activities by the Bharosa cell for women, senior citizens and teens. Under these initiatives, we have spoken to 75,000 people so far.

We have decided to build a centralised unit to store seized properties, called muddemaal, related to cases that police stations store in a dedicated room. Hence, these rooms and spaces at police stations will be free and used for other purposes.

Steps to success

The dedicated team to handle cybercrime cracking cases

CCTV cameras help in solving crime

Using digital technology to solve cases from FIR to chargesheet

Citizen participation and use of Satark Punekar application are increasing

Ppassport verification within five days

Activities by the Bharosa cell for women, senior citizens and teens

First Published: Jul 12, 2019 14:36 IST