The Centre is developing an Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP)-based database of modus operandi various criminal gangs or individuals use to commit crimes to help police solve such cases faster as well as help them learn about the new methods adopted by criminals.

The Modus Operandi Bureau (MOB), the database, will have over 100 modus operandi or trademark of criminals/accused persons involved in crimes till date. It will be updated from time to time depending on new crimes, people familiar with the matter said.

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) is developing the database under the Union home ministry’s supervision. It will be accessible to all 16,000 odd police stations across the country through Crime and Criminals Tracking Network Systems (CCTNS).

“The criminals keep innovating on regular basis and adopt newer modus operandi. The list of modus operandi can never be exhaustive, but continues to become bigger and perhaps unwieldy. The police investigations will have technological solutions now where with the help of AI and NLP, they will be able to read the text in the FIRs [first information reports] of a large number of cases stored in the CCTNS system and categorize cases as per keywords related to modus operandi,” said a ministry official, requesting anonymity.

NCRB is also working on voice analysis to identify the criminals issuing threats/ransom calls over the phone. A database of voice samples of arrested criminals is being created in the CCTNS for that, said a second official.

The second official added the MOB takes care of who the criminal may be and who committed a particular crime. “But another aspect deals with the psychology of criminals and why the offender committed the crime and did what he did.”

The second official referred to the November 2019 rape and murder of a Hyderabad woman and added why did the accused burn her body and that too in a particular way. “And whether they would repeat the crime, had they not been shot dead? This relates to research with the help of psychologists based on interviews, family profile, socio-economic factors and so on for which the Bureau of Police Research and Development is currently engaged.”

Police across states can read modus operandi and avert incidents, for instance, if there is a serial killer on the loose.

The first official said the modus operandi module will produce quality results only if police stations are careful and regular in feeding the FIRs and criminal data into the CCTNS.

An Indian Police Service officer, who did not want to be named, said traditionally, when computers were not in much use, details of each criminal used to be kept on cards, which were stored modus operandi wise. “Searching those cards for finding involvement of a possible criminal used to be manual and the investigating officers would visit local modus operandi bureau at the state level for relevant research. These MOBs were normally kept at district or state levels. With national digital MOB, an officer can check everything on his desktop or laptop.”

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