Milind Mahadeo Dumbere is an illustrious police officer currently deputed in Puducherry as Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG). A B-Tech in chemical engineering from UICT College Mumbai, Dumbere is a 2006 batch IPS officer of AGMUT cadre. Born into a simple but educated family, he had no dearth of guidance throughout his academic career with both his parents, father Mahadeo Dumbere, and mother Prema Mahadeo, being teachers.
He started his professional career as ACP Chanakyapuri in New Delhi. He served Delhi Police as DCP five times and MCD as Education Director and Deputy Commissioner three times. He also had a stint in Chandigarh as SSP.
His upright demeanor as an administrator and unblemished service record saw him through many key positions in Indian administration. In an interview with Anjali Bhatia Milind Mahadeo Dumbere recounted his experience of policing in Puducherry and what it is like policing especially in dealing with cybercrime. Excerpts:
Anjali Bhatia: We would like to know about the challenges you have faced during your career?
Milind Mahadeo Dumbere: Well, policing itself is a challenging job. I had been fortunate enough to have held responsible positions. But without a doubt, it was a great learning experience to face those challenges with all my professional abilities.
AB: If we talk about your journey and professional experience in South India, what kind of challenges do you face as Puducherry DIG, especially culturally or language-wise?
MMD: It has, indeed, been a good experience and, of course, a different one at that. Language is not an issue as such. Here crime generally pertains to rowdyism, revenge killings, and ganja peddling which comes under Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS). Also, cybercrime is picking up steadily. But our police staff has been prompt in taking action against the offenders.
AB: So, if we talk about South India, especially Puducherry, the kind of crimes are reported to have to do mostly with rowdyism, land grabbing cases, and illegal trade in firecracker manufacturing. Many illegal factories are seen in your area and at times many accidents are reported. What do you have to say about that?
MMD: Yes, there are small manufacturing units that use explosives for firecrackers, fireworks, etc. Some tragic accidents do happen every now and then due to violations of safety norms. In such an eventuality, we register a case under relevant provisions of IPC and the explosives acts.
However, a sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) has direct control over matters pertaining to licensing conditions and any violation thereof. We do conduct surprise checks and intimate the SDMs for any violation found for necessary action. In case any act of negligence is found, the police register a case and carry out an investigation.
AB: Puducherry is a favorite tourist destination. What does the crime graph indicate about the offenses committed against tourists? As a DIG, how do you contain this kind of crime, and what protection do you provide to the visitors to the area.
MMD: As a matter of fact, Puducherry is very safe for tourists. This is the reason it is picking up fast as a favorite tourist destination. Women tourists also feel safe here. Patrolling teams are there on beach roads and paradise beaches to prevent crime and drowning. Grand Bazaar Police Station is specially sensitized to deal with any grievance of a tourist as many tourists flock to this area.
AB: Puducherry boasts of exotic locations which turn out to be a big draw for tourists. Many French nationals live here. How do you deal with the French nationals governed by French laws but residing in Puducherry since it is your duty to protect them as per Indian law?
MMD: It’s true there are many French nationals in Puducherry. It’s also true that local laws are generally not applicable to such people. However, when a French citizen commits an offense that comes under the purview of cybercrime, the Indian laws pertaining to cyber security supersede the French laws. Nevertheless, we coordinate with the French government in any such eventuality. In short, French nationals are also governed by Indian laws subject to diplomatic immunity in special cases.
AB: What is the rate of crimes against women, crimes against children, and crimes against senior citizens in Puducherry?
MMD: The crimes against women, children, and senior citizens are low as compared to other parts of the country. Also, awareness camps are conducted in schools and colleges to encourage women and children to come forward to lodge complaints in case any such crimes take place.
AB: Cybercrime is a major threat to law-abiding citizens. How many cases have been registered in this segment in the past year in Puducherry, and how many cases have you solved pertaining to cybercrime. What are the steps the Puducherry police have taken to prevent cybercrime and ensure cyber security?
MMD: Cybercrime of late has been on the rise. During the Covid pandemic, it has increased significantly. In 2021, a total of 13 cases had been registered. Of them, eight cases have been worked out. Since cybercrime has no boundaries, it needs a lot of coordination with other states. Our cyber cell is equipped with technology and expertise to deal with any such crimes. We have undertaken the training of the staff and procurement of relevant cyber equipment and software to deal with all sorts of cybercrimes.
AB: What major steps have you taken for police reforms in Puducherry?
MMD: When I joined last year, I found vehicular infrastructure was inadequate. However, under the guidance and initiative of the Hon’ble Home Minister and DGP, we were able to procure new vehicles to help the staff discharge their duties effectively.
Also, recently we have concluded the recruitment process to hire almost 400 police constables. The recruitments were pending for almost four years. Further, the cyber cell is also being upgraded to make it efficient enough to deal with cybercrime and cyber frauds.
AB: What message would you like to give to the public as a police officer?
MMD: As a police officer I would like to say that it is better to be safe than sorry. People should exercise utmost care while using cyberspace and the internet. Also, they should immediately approach the police as soon as they sense a crime is committed against them.