Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Forensic Investigation And Adaption Of Technology In India: Do Both Work In Tandem?

Written by Rahul R, Senior Technical Journalist at EFY

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The technical way forward

Experts believe that the onus on modernising the law enforcement agencies (predominantly comprising the police force) lies with the states. Also, usage of certain scientific methods sometimes require approval by the courts.

“Technology such as Brain Finger Printing which is an admissible evidence internationally has to be made admissible in India too, this can resolve many cases as the associated devices is very effective and gives 98% accurate results by getting the hidden information from the suspect’s mind without any invasive/sedation methods,” advises a leading vendor of forensic products in India.

At this point in time, it is worth noting that to conduct tests like brain mapping and narco-analysis, the consent of the suspect is to be obtained first, post the consent, courts are at liberty to either approve or reject investigators’ plea of subjecting suspects to brain mapping and related ‘psychic’ evaluation.

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As far as modernising law enforcement agencies are concerned, the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the government could offer thrust to the manufacturing of forensic equipment in the country in tandem with consultation and expertise available in other economies viz. the United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom (UK), and more. Allowing for intensive investments in this sector, akin to the defence sector, could also potentially better forensic facilities.

Mitigation of plaguing issues

As far as actual investigation via forensics is concerned, experts throw light on a range of nagging issues that currently require mitigation on a war footing (by the department personnel themselves):

  • Shortage of personnel and experts to deploy forensic techniques at the ground level during investigation.
  • Even in the case of forensic deployment at the ground level, experts feel that the attitude of the IOs (and police personnel) is pathetic throughout the country. Lack of co-ordination is also highlighted here. This leads to missing vital evidences from the scene of the crime. Experts also believe that mitigation of these problems can be achieved through adaption of scientific methods in tandem with professionalism.
  • Improper and incomplete communication with forensic equipment vendors is also quoted as an inadequacy. “If we can convince the department, and once they decide to procure the product the normal process takes at least two years to technically evaluating the product, tendering, and placing order”, stated the forensic products vendor.

Another major issue, plaguing forensic investigations, is the inadequacy within the FSLs.

“We are trying to equip the FSLs with modern equipments, tools and scientific methods which the world adopts today to zero down the criminal from the evidences collected from crime scene,” adds the forensic equipments vendor.

“Many awareness programs, presentations, and demonstrations have been done by us across India. The potential business is at thirty six states and seven hundred districts to be equipped. The problem is that of allotting the budget for states is taking tremendous time.”

Proposed solutions – straight from vendors

We spoke to vendors to get insights on how they plan to help in modernisation of forensic infrastructure in India. One solution (and product) suggested was a 3D interactive training software simulator that helps police trainees derive hands-on experience on the Dos and Don’t’s at crime scenes. Finer aspects such as evidence detection, collection, packaging, and storage via scientific methods and tools; are also touched upon.

“Our product is to be installed at police training institutes across India, we have even sold these to certain states. But even after purchasing they do not use the simulator as this is not part of their course,” states a Chennai-based Forensic products vendor.

This vendor stated that they are ready to supply state-of-the-art crime investigation kits for presumptive tests, laboratory tests; and even fully mobile FSLs that can be taken to the scene of the crime for early solving of cases.

Technology – as a deterrent to crime, rather than an aid

All said and done, employment of technology by investigators should instil fear in the minds of criminals and perpetuators of crime. Early detection and solving of crimes would undoubtedly be the right step in this direction.

“Using scientific methods driven by technology, not only can criminals be brought to book, but they should potentially think that technology is not an aid for crime,” sign off experts.

Experts Consulted:

Former investigation officers who spoke to us on the condition of anonymity
Anonymous Current investigation officers
Forensic Equipment vendors who requested total anonymity

 

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