Research is the core of modern professional policing today. Research not only means a search for new way of doing things, of challenging basic assumptions of police functions and testing the efficacy of methods but also an acknowledgment of limitations of traditional approaches and methods in dealing with crime and law-order maintenance. Research suggests that the police are not the sole stakeholder or repository of knowledge on security and crime control mechanisms. The involvement of knowledge institutions is integral to the ability of the police to deal with crime and maintain order. Furthermore, policing is increasingly a data-driven function and police organizations process substantial data that reflect the social, political, economic factors impacting Indian society. Vast amount of criminal justice data is being collected throughout India, with maturing of the nation-wide Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS), as well as state-level projects, such as 'Dial 100' initiative in Uttar Pradesh, to provide assistance to citizens within a very short span of time irrespective of their location. This is a commendable step, but several challenges remain. Combined with additional social, political and economic data and geographic information systems that provide spatial maps and allow incorporation of temporal phase, significant new heights can be scaled for effective policing, with data analytics and visualization.
India is in a unique situation with highly complex socio-economic strata and even more complex spatial distribution that make difficult the direct application of the logic and rationale of western methodologies of criminal investigation. The population of Uttar Pradesh alone is almost 70% of the US population while police to citizen ratio is one of the lowest in the world. Police investigation is only at the initial end of the criminal justice system (CJS), whose overall effectiveness depends on how quickly the trials conclude and criminals convicted. Thus, a holistic and data-driven view of the CJS is essential to establish the rule of law. Given the unique complexity of Indian scenario, underinvestment in CJS infrastructure and ever-increasing availability of data, there is an opportunity to provide police and CJS leadership with technology tools that can address criminal justice issues in a professional manner to enhance safety and security of our country.
For this purpose, a Center for Criminal Justice Research at IITK is established. The mission is to provide technology support to the CJS; to serve the citizens, particularly women and children; to provide training and support to the police in fulfilling its role of preventing and deterring crime through effective investigations, maintenance of public order and efficient management of resources to help the community at large.