With an increase in incidents of cyber crime and lack of expertise with investigators to solve them, Andhra Pradesh Police has roped in IT experts to provide training to officials dealing with the new-age menace.

“Insufficient expertise of the investigating officers is a big hurdle in probing cases of cyber crime as these officers are not adequately trained in investigation of cyber offences and collection of electronic evidence,” Additional SP (Cyber Crime) U. Rama Mohan told PTI here.

“The police have taken up various training programmes with the help of experts in information technology law as cyber crimes require tracking offenders over the Internet, he said.”

Cyber offences, which include misdemeanours such as fraudulent bank transactions, sending offensive emails, cyber stalking and phishing, a practice of using fraudulent e-mails and copies of legitimate websites to extract financial data from computer users for the purpose of identity theft, are relatively new to many investigators.

“Such officials need to be trained as lack of proper skills can be a big hurdle in solving such cases,” Mohan said.

Preservation of the crime scene and search and seizure of electronic evidence require a different approach than the conventional methods, the SP, who is a forensic expert, added.

However, there are also practical problems in enforcement of cyber laws due to issues like jurisdiction, collection of evidence and inadequate knowledge about such laws, he said.

Besides training police personnel to deal with the new-age crime, there is need for orienting judicial magistracy and prosecutors to appreciate the special conditions and technical aspects of evidence related to cyber law, he said.

“There is a need to be sensitised to appreciate the electronic evidence presented in the courts. Some legal officers may not have proper knowledge of computer jargons like IP address, full header, hacking or e-banking,” he added.

“Police operate within local boundaries, focusing on crime occurring within their area. But the global nature of Internet and cyber space brings together offenders, victims and targets, who are otherwise situated in different countries,” Mohan said.

Often, cyber offences span beyond national boundaries, making it difficult for investigators to collect evidence and apprehend the culprit.

“CrPC provides for writing Letters Rogatory (LR) and seek information from abroad and also process requests coming from other countries. But this process of securing evidence is lengthy and time-consuming. This delay allows the offender to repeat his offences with impunity,” the SP said.

“The Government should have Mutual Legal Assistance treaties with a large number of countries to ensure speedy probe of cyber crime,” he said.

At present three cyber crime police stations are functional in Andhra Pradesh, an IT hub with Hyderabad as the main centre. While CID cyber crime station was set up in 2002, one in Hyderabad and another under jurisdiction of Cyberabad Commissionerate were working since last year.

The CID cyber crime station, which has jurisdiction of the entire State, has so far registered 169 cases under various Sections of IPC and Information Technology (IT) Act.

It has arrested 41 persons, including Nigerians, during the last four years in various cases including hacking, source code alteration and theft, debit card and ATM card fraud, publishing pornography and obscene text in the form of electronic photo, Mr. Mohan told PTI.

Of the 41 persons, 12 persons belonged to other States like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Orissa and Karnataka, he said.