Proposal to start special police stations gathers dust

Photo by S K Dinesh

Though the government has earmarked funds to effectively handle cybercrime, economic offences and narcotics, a proposal to start eight CEN police stations across the city has been gathering dust.

In fact, the proposal for Cybercrime, Economic Offences and Narcotics (CEN) police stations was presented in April last year, but it did not get official sanction.

In the same period, however, 7,400 cases were registered in the cybercrime police station in 2019, a significantly higher number compared to the 2018 figures of 5,036 till December. At the present rate, the figures could well cross 10,000 by December this year.

“The number of cases being registered is higher due to a growing shift towards digital transactions and greater desire among citizens to report such cases,” said Sandeep Patil, Joint Commissioner of Police, (Crime).

Barring a conviction by the Criminal Investigation Department in September last year, none of the cases registered at the cybercrime police station have secured convictions, and none of the money lost has been recovered, senior police officials said.

“A majority of these cases are debit and credit card frauds, where citizens willingly share their account details with strangers over the phone. Despite efforts to educate people that banks won’t ask for such details, the number of such crimes continues to rise,” Patil added.

Latest tactics 

The latest tactics are to trick unsuspecting netizens into believing that they have won a lottery or are invited for a special visit with the Queen of England, Patil said.

“Given that Bengaluru is a floating IT capital, we get cybercrime cases in a larger volume. We get anywhere between 25 to 50 cases a day,” said a senior police inspector from the cybercrime police station.

Constables with a sound knowledge of computers receive a three- to seven-day training before joining the cybercrime police station. But lack of manpower to handle the high volume of cases continues to pose a problem, especially since the cybercrime police station is the only one across 110 police stations.

Patil said 30 personnel were added to the cybercrime police station in 2019, before which the team had just five officers.

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