July 2017
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CCTNS: Real-time sharing of crime and criminal information

if sufficient provision of funds is not made for the additional units, the very purpose of sharing information will be defeated

If sufficient provision of funds is not made for the additional units, the very purpose of sharing information will be defeated

Crime and Criminals Tracking Network and Systems- CCTNS

There has been a paradigm shift in the fundamental concept of governance in the recent years. More emphasis is now being given to the citizen centric services. Automation levels have gained new heights. The service delivery channels have been gradually increasing. Though the private sector has taken a lead in leveraging the benefits of the Information and Communication Techniques (ICT), the governments have also been making sincere efforts to tap its potential by systematic transformation of its traditionally rigid and opaque style of functioning to a more accessible and transparent one.

Even the often criticised police, which perceives itself a victim of digital divide has acquired a better preparedness to reap the benefits of the ICT. The e-Cop application of Andhra Pradesh police and networking of all Police Stations (PS) using Virtual Private Network (VPN) by Karnataka police speaks volumes about the capability of the police to harness the potential of the ICT. It’s time to turn things around, do more with less by using these modern tools in every day policing; know more, in order to make better decisions as well as increase public confidence in police forces, and share information. Therefore, in order to modernise the police force and bring uniformity in dealing with its important functions, the ‘Crime & Criminals Tracking Network and Systems’ (CCTNS) project has been conceptualised by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India (GoI) as a Mission Mode Project (MMP) under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP).

Scope

The Police Station (PS), a basic unit of policing, has been conceived as a core unit of the project. The First Information Report (FIR) shall now be written and saved in digital format. Evidence pertaining to the scene of crime could also be captured on a real time basis. This would solve the problem of alleged overwriting, cuttings and illegible handwriting to a large extent. Complainants would be able to keep track of their report without visiting the PS. The Chief of Police would be able to talk to a remote PS staff at will. Record-keeping would improve and mundane tasks of report making would be minimised. The Rs 2,000 crore project, spans across all the 35 states and Union Territories. CCTNS will be connected to a total of more than 21,000 locations.

Capacity Building

Starting and maintaining an ICT project to fight crime and promote community safety requires a sustained commitment. An ICT project’s success or failure will depend heavily on the organisational capacity to manage and respond to the information transmitted by the technology. The development, implementation, and communication of policies and procedures will help citizen trust that information collected, stored, and disseminated through ICT tools will be handled thoughtfully, legally, and ethically. Capacity building, the most vital component therefore has been appropriately addressed for the successful implementation of the project. Funds have been earmarked not only for the enhancement of training infrastructure at district headquarters, State Crime Record Bureau (SCRB) and training centres, but also for providing various training programs to the police staff. Various target groups identified for the training include investigating officers, station house officers, senior police officers, police personnel providing technical support and training support to CCTNS. Specialised courses have been designed for sensitisation and awareness creation in basic ICT and computing skills, role specific training for different CCTNS user categories and ‘training for trainer’. Almost all training programs are to be delivered by the System Integrator engaged by the states. Once the systems are in place, handholding will be provided for 6 months.

Challenges  

Though the project has been conceptualised keeping in mind the past experience of implementation of ‘Common Integrated Police Application’ (CIPA) and requirements of modern policing, the real challenge lies in identifying the constraints for effective implementation and sustainability of the project and employing appropriate methodologies to overcome them.

Secondly, connectivity of PSs may pose a major challenge in difficult terrain covered by hills and dense forest. Many PSs are still devoid of regular supply of electricity. Even maintenance of a meagre ‘Generator Set’ may be difficult to ascertain constant flow of data. Thirdly, although, sufficient funds have been provided for enhancement of training infrastructure and capacity building yet, unless the change management is carefully planned and implemented, the project may not take-off with the required momentum. ‘Expect the resistance and plan for it’; must be the slogan for managing change. Change is a process and therefore must be planned accordingly.

Fourthly, citizen satisfaction may not depend on how fast data is uploaded on the system. Since the internet access is quite limited in rural areas, the real improvement in service delivery can be brought about only by inculcating attitudinal changes in the policemen. Therefore, focus should be on people and not on systems. Fifthly, states must be supplemented with additional funds for upcoming PSs and other police units as and when required. Therefore, if sufficient provision of funds is not made for the additional units, the very purpose of sharing information will be defeated.

Lastly, the successful implementation of any e-Governance project primarily depends upon the leadership of the organisation. Unless the command comes from the top, commitment loses its sheen. The top brass must own the project for timely implementation and effective usage. Moreover, at state level, envisioning by state to integrate an ongoing evaluation system that monitors the effectiveness of daily operations and allows responding to problems and making mid-course corrections in a timely fashion for this project, is paramount. editor@ictpost.com

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