Be technologically savvy to tackle crimes – Interior Minister tells Police officers

Hon. Ambrose Dery, Interior Minister

The Minister for the Interior Hon. Ambrose Dery is admonishing law enforcement agencies to take advantage of technological driven courses to equip themselves to support the security sector in addressing the high rate of cybercrime.

He noted it would enable officers have the requisite skills and knowledge to fight against cyber fraud, saying, fighting crime in all forms is commendable, but predicting the crime before it occurs is the best way to go.

He said this during the National Cyber Security Awareness forum held at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre in Accra.

As a member of the inter-ministerial advisory council on cybercrime, Hon. Dery asserted that previously, law enforcement agencies arrested perpetrators of crime through tip-offs, but today, various security agencies are equipped with technology and tools that aid them in arresting suspected criminals.

“Today, technology has made it possible for the security agencies to track cyber fraudsters. In view of this, it is equally important that you equip yourselves better in technology-oriented courses to be able to manage and deal with rising cases of cybercrimes”, he said.

He noted that an efficient cyber security strategy that incorporates the law enforcement agencies and key actors within the private sector will reduce the numerous cybercrimes in Ghana’s digital ecosystem and further ease burden of our security services.

Reports from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service indicate that from 2016 to 2018, cybercrime related activities have cost Ghana close to US$100 million.

Measures dealing with cyber crimes

To be able to deal with the increasing level of cyber fraud, the Interior Minister laid down some specific measures government has tabled to deal with the menace.

First, he noted it was important to strengthen the current legal framework to aid in the arrest, search and seize devices used by cyber fraudsters. He added it was only when the law is strengthened in the fight against the menace, that will contribute effectively in wiping out the crime.

To achieve the needed results in the fight against cybercrime, Hon. Dery mentioned security agencies required the needed capacity to tackle the crime.

He said the CID of the Ghana Police Service is engaging with Interpol to design a training programme on cybercrime that will be incorporated into the curriculum of the Ghana Police Training College. This will enhance the current state of the CID by expanding its activities.

“The initiative is expected to deliver training on cyber crime and cyber incidence response to all serving police officers”, he said.

The minister again stated that to ensure effective cybercrime response, it was important to create awareness among the public to facilitate the fight against the menace, adding, corporation is the way to go.

He added that apart from building capacity of the police and other law enforcement agencies, a total number of 40 law enforcement officers have been trained in geographic awareness creation in the public to facilitate cybercrime reporting.

The awareness forum on the theme: “A safer Digital Ghana” was attended by some members of the judiciary, Deputy Minister for Communication – George Andah, members of the diplomatic corps among others.

Statistics

In his opening address, Director of the Cyber Crime Unit of the CID, Dr Herbert Gustav Johnson, explained that over 10 million Ghanaians are averagely active on various social media platforms, including Facebook, WhatsApp and others, adding, they spend four hours a day online.

This figure, he noted represents 35 per cent of the internet penetration rate of Ghana’s population. This development he said has also seen a surge in the rate of cybercrimes as perpetrators have reinvented themselves to take advantage of vulnerable people.

Dr. Gustav mentioned that since the society has moved from agrarian to information society, it was important much attention is paid to the increasing rate of the menace.

Some participants at the function suggested to government on the need to incorporate private security agencies in the fight against cybercrime as they also have the requisite technical know-how to tackle the menace.

By Dundas Whigham