IG Int, Gujarat Police
Securing international boundaries, maintaining law & order, dealing with crime – geospatial technology has ample scope in policing. Manoj Aggarwal shares with Geospatial World the initiatives taken by Gujarat Police in implementing geospatial technology and the way forward
Gujarat is at the forefront of adopting geospatial technology in policing. Can you brief us on how and when the need was felt to implement geospatial technology?
The importance of GIS technology and beneficiary retrieval output thereof in numerous fields, especially in the field of maintaining law and order, dealing with crime, traffic management, intelligence, anti-sabotage, VIP arrangements etc is paramount. Hence there was a dire need to comprise a cell / branch, consisting of experts in the field of police management and computer skilled officers, to overcome the existing lacunae in policing and have an effective and efficient monitoring system. For GIS efforts of even modest size, it is usually necessary to form a team and assign a leader. Even if things appear simple at this stage, they will get much more complex in the course of developing the GIS. Thus, the DGP of Gujarat constituted a Gujarat Police GIS Cell. The GIS Cell will become a key component of crime analysis, through the use of geography and computer generated maps as an interface for integrating and accessing large amounts of information based on its location. GIS allows police personnel to plan effectively for emergency response, mitigation priorities, evaluate historic events and predict future events.
What differences and value additions has geospatial technology brought in the recent times? Can you quote some successful projects and programmes?
The required functions of the GIS software and applications are derived from the users’ operational needs and the database support requirements. The functions and the scope of work of the GIS Cell amounts to various tasks, but to start with, the Cell has accomplished the herculean task of creating Police Digital Boundaries of seven ranges of Gujarat Police and thereby, differentiating 27 Districts S.Ps viz ranges, district police, Dy.S.P.,PI/PSI police station, chowkey/ village/bit wise and four commissionerates i.e .Ahmedabad Vadodara, Surat and Rajkot City. Moreover, the boundaries of the city police were again marked and distinguished according to its Jurisdiction comprising of sector /ranges, zones, ACP divisions, police stations etc. which was a major landmark achievement of the GIS Cell.
The digital boundary data of commissionerates i.e. cities were made more comprehensive in nature by adding various layers like apartment/society, ATMs, area locality, bridges, bus-stands, churches, masjids, temples, fire stations, post offices, railway stations, petrol pumps, gas stations, telephone exchanges, industry/ industrial estates, hospitals, government buildings, cinema halls, gymkhanas, colleges, schools, party plots, open grounds, restaurants, hostels, gardens, parks, sport complexes, auditoriums etc.
The key beneficiaries of effective policing are the citizens. Are there any mechanisms to extend the benefits of use of geospatial technology to the citizens?
The key beneficiaries of effective policing for the citizens are in the following areas:
(1) Crime mapping by web application through central server system of entire state i.e cities, districts, units (commissionerates / S.Ps.) can be done, with a view to digitise the entire boundaries of Gujarat State and all the relevant information with regards to policing, can be made available at the click of a mouse. The methodology applied here is based on the present investigating system for crime mapping. It has a very promising role in the current scenario and provides a platform for law enforcement agencies for crime detection and prevention. With the help of Raksha Shakti University, last six months’ crime data of 2012 of a particular area has been incorporated in digital map of Police Commissionerate, Ahmedabad city.
(2) Automatic vehicle locators are plotted/located/viewed on police digital boundary maps and made available to the users. This enables dispatch of vehicles to the needy in very less time, leading to low response times. As part of Dial-100 project implemented in all the control rooms of police commissionerates as well as district SPs, the control rooms are presently equipped with two AVLs each and aims to provide response to public with the help of AVL and GIS map.
(3) By utilising digital boundaries in various ways, the control room may give fruitful results for maintaining law and order, identify hotspots of crime as well as facilitate development of investigation preference strategy for policing. It can also be useful to identify and to study the crime pattern of particular area or part of a city / district thereof.
(4) Accident prone zones can be analysed/ identified by plotting it on the map. It may also be helpful to national / state highways and internal district roads, so as to have an effective solution to curtail the accidents and bring some safety measures to control the accidents, thereby saving precious and valuable human lives and property.
Gujarat and Sindh- land Border poses a number of security issues. How are you deploying geospatial technology to address these issues?
Harami Nala is an inward extension of Sir Creek and Kori Creek. The international border between India and Pakistan passes through centre of Sir Creek. Harami Nala is formed by the estuary of Indus River as it meets the Arabian Sea. The presence of fishes in the easily accessible brackish water creek makes it attractive for fishing boats from Pakistan. It is almost inaccessible from the Indian Side. It was difficult to monitor this area due to the absence of infrastructure as the nearest Gujarat Police / Border Security Force presence was at Lakhpat- nearly 35 kms away. Regular unverifiable inputs from Indian citizens were available about intrusion of Pakistani fishing boats in the area. Security forces made regular sorties with manned and unmanned aircraft but were unable to verify the inputs due to absence of accurate and pin-point information.
The fishermen, when apprehended, would inform that they were present in the Indian territory for last 36 hours before being captured. In the intervening time between information being received and capture of fishing boats, many events against national interest could have happened about which security forces had no information and control.
In early 2010, decision was made to use available satellite imaging technology to pinpoint the intrusions. The area of interest was marked where unverified inputs about intrusion were being regularly received. The area of interest data was sent to relevant satellite imaging organization of Government of India. The satellite imaging organisation was requested to provide the imaging details on a regular basis.
Electronic intelligence received regularly was then collated and passed on to relevant security organisations on a daily basis. A pattern of intrusion was also developed based on the electronic intelligence received. The electronic intelligence gathering was re-tuned as per the developed pattern.
Based on the accurate inputs received from Gujarat Police, security forces started their deployment. The regular inputs received from Gujarat Police made the job of on-ground forces a lot easier. Additional equipment and boats were also deployed in the Indian side of Harami Nala. A permanent post was created near Harami Nala to keep an eye on intrusions and activities against national interest.
Intrusions have drastically come down after the deployment of geospatial technology as per information received from security forces.
What are the challenges being faced in implementation of geospatial technology by Gujarat Police?
The process of acquiring and developing GIS components and building them into the needed GIS should be a straightforward, albeit complex, process that flows directly from the requirements analysis and design. To many, the task of GIS procurement— understanding and choosing among the many alternatives—is daunting. However, if the work done in the requirements analysis and design tasks is thorough, then selecting, procuring, and developing GIS components should not be difficult. It may still be complex and time and resource-consuming, but the decisions and tasks should be results of following the specifications and plans developed in the design phase. It is a matter of transforming the GIS requirements into product and task specifications and evaluating available components and methods according to criteria developed during the requirements analysis. The main GIS components to be acquired usually are GIS software and hardware, applications, data and systems integration. A variety of system and data development activities may also be required to complete the GIS components, including applications and other software development, database design, and system installation and integration.
To overcome the challenges faced in implementation, and reduce the financial cost of implementation, it was decided by Gujarat Police to take help of BISAG (Bhaskaracharya Institute of Space Application & Geo-Informatics) based in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The workstations which run the GIS Software are provided by BISAG. The Esri Software is also provided by BISAG. The entire Gujarat Police GIS Team was based in BISAG to carry out their GIS mapping exercise and to get trained in various GIS Applications.
What future plans does the Gujarat Police have regarding the implementation of geospatial technology?
HDIITS (Home Department Integrated Information Technology Solution) is a state-level software which has been developed with the help of Home Department, Government of Gujarat. This project is also supported by CCTNS (Crime Criminal Tracking Network and System) Project of Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. The HDIITS Project is currently being implemented across more than 1100 locations of Home Department, Government of Gujarat. Integration of GIS Map with the HDIITS Application is under progress and would soon be rolled out across the state.