Setting up a Cyber Crime Centre with Rs. 2 crore could be just a small step, still those in the police and cyber forensic industry welcome the move in the budget speech.

For a bustling hub of commercial and financial activities, Kochi has to make do with only a small cyber cell as in other districts, which mostly does the preliminary investigation into complaints.

The cyber cells at district level and Hi-Tech Cell at the State-level have no power to register cases. Only the Cyber Station (there is just one in the State and is situated at Thiruvananthapuram) has the authority to do so.

That could be one reason why the police officers are confused about the nature of the proposed Cyber Crime Centre. Many believe it could be a research centre, mostly because it has been mooted as a Public-Private Partnership project. Doubts, however, linger whether the allotted amount will be enough even for a PPP project.

“What is allotted in the Budget will always be a token amount. However, this move is significant as Kochi records maximum number of cyber crimes.

This includes cases registered for cyber offences like misuse of websites and also conventional crimes done using cyber tools,” said K. Padmakumar, Inspector General of Police, Kochi Range.

But the proposed centre will be able to pool in resources from outside the police force to fight cyber crime,” added Mr. Padmakumar. Even at present, the police have been seeking support from the technical experts outside in advanced crime fighting situations.

“There is already a successful model in PPP project for cyber crime fighting. Truth Labs, headed by a former Inspector General of Karnataka Police, supports the police from outside.

In a way, such ventures are important as the governments might find it difficult to proceed when it comes to purchasing the latest software to fight cyber crime,” said Manu Zacharia, cyber security expert.

He also pointed out that the instances of government coming out in open seeking support from the private players.

“In a significant move, the Union government released a malware, believed to be aimed at one of the official servers and offered a reward for those who could track it. This was done at the 2013 international security conference held in Goa 2013,” he said.

The State Police will stand to benefit from such an association.

“Right now, the technical support for our work is provided by C-DAC. But the real issue that we face in the force is acute shortage of hands and there is no steps being taken to correct that,” said N. Vinayakumaran Nair, Assistant Commissioner, Hi-Tech Cell. The proposal for a cyber station at Kochi is pending before the State Government and so is the request for a police station inside the Infopark campus. None of these was featured in the budget speech.

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