Director General of Police (DGP) Jacob Punnoose urged the police force to change its face and functioning in keeping with the changing times.

Delivering the inaugural address marking the entry of Kochi police into social networking sites by the name Cochin Peacemakers here on Saturday, Mr. Punnoose said that the police intervention in the cyber space was a step in this direction.

He said that the police presence in social networking sites needs to be seen only as police patrolling on a cyber highway. He was confident that police presence would help check illegal practices exploiting these sites. He said that the police were duty bound to forewarn people of the hidden dangers along the invisible cyber space highway.

Mr. Punnoose reminded that criminals were making all out efforts to utilise technological advancements for committing crimes. So it’s important that the police were technologically equipped to face the challenge.

He hailed the Kochi city police for adapting with changing technology while stating that the police presence in social networking sites was a good precedent.

Inspector General of Police (Ernakulam Range) B. Sandhya said that there had been instances in the city where nefarious activities using social networking sites had disrupted even family lives. The sites were being used for dubious practices ranging from illegal money chain to cheating, she said.

Hence forth the city police will be present in socials networking sites like Orkut, Facebook, and Twitter.

Among other things the police aim to propagate awareness about people’s rights, different aspects of laws and traffic rules, security from cyber crimes, the bad effects of alcohol and drugs, and precautions to prevent crimes through their presence in these sites.

People can in turn use these sites as a platform for informing the police about the criminals and illegal practices in their locality.

Besides, information on various police mechanisms, passport verification, and registration of foreign nationals would also be exchanged. Public can also utilise the system for passing on their suggestions for better policing.

Police hope that their presence would help them gather vital information of criminal deeds in time and to make the functioning of police stations more transparent. For instance, police would be able to take action against those involved in cyber sex, drug sale, and flesh trade by misusing the social networking sites.

City Police Commissioner Manoj Abraham presided at the function held at the Janamaithri Police Station at Kadavanthra. Deputy Commissioner P.H. Ashraf, Assistant Commissioner Sunil Jacob, and Assistant Commissioner (Special Branch) Shamsu Illikkal were among those present.

“The City Police have already entered into tie-ups with Orkut for a special tab for immediate deletion of profiles and have approached Facebook and Twitter also for a similar facility,” Mr. Abraham told mediapersons on Friday.

The City Police now maintains one of the popular web portals - www.kochicitypolice.org – and also has another online presence through its Janamaithri Blogspot - http://janamythirikochicitypolice.blogspot.com. Also, it maintains one the best equipped Cyber Cells, provided cyber training for all policemen and conducted regular cyber crime investigation and cyber security conferences.

With the launch of the online identity of Kochi Peace Makers, the City Police will be achieving another first among counterparts across the State. This is being done as part of the modernising of the force. Some of the major innovations taken up under this drive by the City Police include ultra-modern Control Room, surveillance cameras in traffic junctions, Kavacham – the modern anti-terrorism vehicle, facility for passport and traffic enquiry through phone and computerisation of the office procedures, salary disbursal and Special Branch.