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Maharashtra to come up with ‘predictive policing policy’

The Maharashtra government will come up with a “predictive policing policy” as part of its cyber security modernisation programme, the Legislative Council was informed.

The digital technology-based policy will help law enforcement agencies prevent and detect cyber crimes, Minister of State for Home (Urban) Ranjit Patil told the House.

He was responding to a query by Satej Patil (Congress) over increasing instances of cyber crimes in the state.

Ranjit Patil said on the lines of Centres Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), the state government will form a similar agency called “MH-CERT”.

The agency will reduce the states dependence on the Centre to tackle instances where social media is used to fan rumours that may lead to a law and order problem, the minister said.

“The tendering process for acquiring the hardware and software required (for “MH-CERT”) has been done. PwC has been appointed as the consultant for the project,” Ranjit Patil said.

A sum of Rs 650 crore has been allocated for the project. The money will be used to set up a dedicated building, recruit manpower, acquire the necessary hardware, software and equipment, the minister said.

“The government will also come up with a predictive policing policy, wherein the police will use past precedents of miscreants (through data mining and usage of high-tech tools) trying to fuel unrest through social media to ensure such incidents are not repeated,” Ranjit Patil said.

A data centre is being built for the purpose, he said.

Replying to a supplementary query from Anant Gadgil (Congress), Ranjit Patil admitted the conviction rate in cyber crimes is low. This could be due to the prosecution lawyers not having sufficient knowledge of cyber laws.

He said the government will start an upgradation and sensitisation programme for prosecution lawyers to enhance the conviction rate in cyber crimes.

According to a written reply tabled by the government, in 2012, 561 cases were registered under the IT Act, of which 351 (62.57 pc) were detected.

Of these, trials in 40 cases were completed and conviction was secured in eight cases (20 pc conviction), the written reply stated.

In 2017, 4,035 cases were registered under the IT Act, out of which 1,037 (25.70 pc) were detected. Of these, trials of 12 cases were completed and two resulted in conviction (16.67 pc), it added.

The written reply also stated that cyber labs have been set up at 47 places in the state and 138 officers trained in tackling cyber crimes.

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