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India: 3,000 police officers get training in blockchain forensics


With the country seeing an increasing number of digital currency-related crime, India is ramping up efforts to equip its law enforcement with new skill sets to monitor the industry.

In its annual report, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said over 3,000 police officers received training on digital currency investigation techniques in line with global standards. The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre and the Narcotic Control Bureau took the lead in upskilling, according to the report.

Up to 141 officials and over 2,800 officers participated in the 2022-2023 financial year training process. The MHA noted in its report that course attendees have been equipped with digital currency forensics, on-chain investigations, and asset recovery.

The training broached other emerging technologies, such as anonymization networks, with officers attending courses investigating the harmful use of mobile applications. Officials were being trained in evidence collecting from social media sources and other digital footprints in addition to in-depth training on the dark web.

The training, open to law enforcement officers and select officials in the civil service, is expected to run annually, with analysts expecting the MHA to post similar metrics in 2022.

“NCB has developed a Core Training Module along with 05 separate training modules for different ranks such as Dy. SPs and above, IOs/JIOs (Inspectors/Sub-Inspectors), SPP/PPs, other ranks as well as officials of civil departments,” read the MHA’s report.

Besides merely training its police, India is taking its enforcement to the next level following the disclosure of plans to build a national database for global digital currency exchanges, including service providers operating on the dark web. The database is expected to be launched before the end of 2024, according to an official from India’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).

To deal with the scourge of virtual currency crime, police enforcement worldwide are creating specialized units with advanced training to crack down on the operations of bad actors. In South Korea, the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office announced the launch of a Virtual Asset Joint Investigation Unit to investigate and prosecute digital currency crimes.

Incorporating blockchain into key sectors

Although it is eyeing digital currencies skeptically, India is working with the underlying blockchain technology to improve and streamline its processes. In security, New Delhi investigators are tapping blockchain for forensics to prevent evidence tampering and increase transparency.

State-owned oil firm Hindustan Petroleum has integrated blockchain into its purchase order system, which it says will stifle the incidences of fraud.

“The implementation helps to automate the verification of HPCL POs to external parties,” said an HPCL spokesperson. “This works by integrating the blockchain system with HPCL’s internal e-PO and generates tamper-evident verifiable POs.”

Watch: India is going to be the frontrunner in digitalization

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