He is said to have brought IT to the forefront in Karnataka State Police in India. In a tête-à-tête with GeoIntelligence, Sanjay Sahay, IGP, Bangalore, tells us about the progress of Police IT ERP solution and how geospatial technology can help deal with modern security challenges
Inspector General of Police
Police Computer Wing, Bangalore
<< He is said to have brought IT to the forefront in Karnataka State Police in India. In a tête-à-tête with GeoIntelligence, Sanjay Sahay, IGP, Bangalore, tells us about the progress of Police IT ERP solution and how geospatial technology can help deal with modern security challenges >>
You have been credited to have brought a silent revolution in the Karnataka State Police. Can you tell us about it?
This is primarily with regards to IT projects and the main software project which was trailing for the last six years, for sure not moving in the right track – Police IT ERP solution. Police IT ERP solution is a comprehensive endto- end solution which has 12 modules. It integrates every single functioning of the police department in a seamless manner with a workflow intra-module and inter-module, and the whole software integrated as one. This would be one of the very few ERP solutions in the governmental sector and one of the few created by the IT industry. The software comprises 12 modules – three are critical modules – crime, law and order and traffic. Three modules pertain to the administration side – administration, stores and finance. Ancillary support modules like the motor transport, the armed battalion management and other modules are related to training forensic science laboratory and a messaging service are all presently functional in the state. On these modules, we overlay the Management Information System (MIS), thus MIS provides the critical support to all our managers starting from SHO to the DG of the state. It started with the initial deployment of four of the modules. Crime, law and order and traffic takes care of around 70 per cent of the usage and transfer of data, and are already functioning on pilot in 20 districts and four commissionerates. As we progress with the creation of ERP, we have realised that integration of the system is the mantra of its success. Only integration can provide us value enhancement.
With CCTNS (Crime and criminal tracking network and system) project taking shape, it was our duty to see to it that interfaces with departments, like prisons or judiciary or transport (these are the collateral departments with which we have regular official interaction), are either integrated or there is a reasonable amount of interface by way of access and privileges.
We also have a large number of legacy softwares related to GIS-based crime analysis and reporting engine, e-procurement of government of Karnataka, electronic beat – all these softwares have to be integrated. The police IT has to work on a single sign-on concept, so that once a user signs in, he can navigate through the software. We need to integrate a couple of softwares and completely subsume them in our system as a module or sub-module or screen, so that the cost for the maintenance of a separate software is completely done away with. They will be maintained within the police IT framework itself. This is broadly with regards to police IT.
Q. Are these tools operational?
ERP is operational. Four modules were deployed on April 6 last year. Another six modules are in different stages and MIS is overlaid over three critical modules. We are finalising the last change request for our administration module, and once that is done, I think, the whole project would be operational.
Q. What significant changes will we see once these modules become operational?
We have a database of cases from the day we deployed these modules. We are at a stage where we can digitise data for the last five years or whatever period we decide and post-digitisation, we have the capability to migrate the data to a new software. The software generates on a daily basis, MIS sheet for all our officers starting from a sub-inspector to the director general of police. The first level of fruition of ERP is already being felt. An ERP needs a large number of pre-deployment activities. In a layman’s language, recursors to deployment. Precursors to deployment are mainly a data center, a disaster recovery centre, broadband networking, a massive dose of capacity building from the infrastructure to the content and the methodology – it involves a lot many things. Moreover, unlike past, where the output of training could have gone unmeasured, this system requires a person to work on a live system and unless he is not properly trained, he won’t be able to perform.
Q. You have also used facebook in a big way. Can you tell us about that? Also, how did it help you in training your people?
I have got a facebook page for our ERP, that is, Police IT Karnataka. The social networking page helped us in a big way in our training programmes and in change management. We ourselves conduct a large number of training programmes for nodal offices, end users, system administrators etc. SCRB is aware about training requirements at the basic IT awareness level, at application level and for general capacity building which includes soft skills and generally does not pertain strictly to the police activities. There is no denying the fact that police has been running a call centre much before anyone imagined. I think, Dial 100 was the first call centre in the country and the number of calls that we handle is unimaginable. I don’t think anyone else handles that number of calls.
Q. How are you incorporating geospatial technologies?
We have an application called GIS based crime analysis and reporting engine. It is based on maps with 1:5000 resolution for rural areas and 1:2000 resolution for the urban areas, primarily Bangalore. We have overlaid our jurisdiction map on these maps. We are also planning to add pictures of our police stations on them. We have already allocated funds for that. Besides, it has been integrated with state election commission data. This has helped us get information about the basic geographical features along with the information about population, caste and so on. These types of layers make data more sensible.
If you see the hot spots on a GIS based map, I think you get a totally different thought process, it’s able to create a totally different analytical thought process which cannot be created by any other medium. The other reason which is more critical and important is that you can have layers of data on the GIS mode. For example, on my jurisdiction map which is on the GIS platform, I can superimpose an electronic beat map. On this, I can put my AVLS (Automatic Vehicle Location System) map and then overlay that with the movements of supervisory officers. Similarly, I can add a couple of more layers. This information will come handy whenever I need an update about any incident. For example, suppose, I have to find out about a robbery case that occurred in the middle of the night at a particular area. I just need to know the time and coordinates of the place, and I will be able to get information about the PCR vans which were there in the 200 metre radius, the officer who was in the vicinity, whether the beat was served or not and at what point of time. So it will throw up issues which were unimaginable in the past. It’s a very good supervisory and monitoring tool.
Q. You recently said that conventional and unconventional wars are no longer different from each other. Can you elaborate this?
Asymmetric warfare is only one of the different forms of unconventional warfare, and warfare today is certainly not limited to a physical war. It can be much more damaging without getting into the physical mode. And the biggest threat which even the most powerful nation in the world dreads is an attack on its data systems. So the whole repository of our complete data bases, data systems should be at a place which is delineated from us in most of the cases.
We are totally at the mercy of the person who physically holds the server. Nowadays, physical combat with a country with which you share international borders is an outdated concept. We have Moaists and there is also red corridor which finally ends in some other country. So, today’s war cannot be defined. My only contention is that, no matter the shape, form, complexity, nature or technicalities, our response has to be more than matching. This is where geospatial technology has a huge role to play. If my information is correct, 90 per cent of the world today is still not imaged to a level on which some comprehensible, actionable response can be made. I am not talking about law enforcement, but imagery for developmental projects like penetration of health schemes, etc. We don’t have imagery for those purposes also.
The issue of homeland security is a very recent one. Law enforcement has been out of the normal public view domain thought process since its inception. It has only now assumed centerstage because any country today can be kept in a stage of hostage for days together with just one single incident of terror.
Q. You have described SDI as an effective means of combating asymmetric warfare. In a country where sharing data is a big issue, how do you think this is possible?
Not sharing data is outdated. Just because the likelihood of something taking place is bleak or minimal does not stop me from taking concrete steps to achieve it. It is all the more reason for me to take real concrete steps and move in that direction and even partially achieve it. In fact, if we can have imagery of the entire critical infrastructure across the country, I think almost 90 per cent of our problems will be resolved.
Q. How do you perceive the future of this technology in India?
When IKONOS was launched, it was supposed to be one of the major milestones of space age. If the images obtained from satellites like IKONOS are put on our standard information and our standard systems of processing, it will greatly boost our capability to plan, predict and dictate the output.