New Zimbabwe.com

‘Tech-stupid’ cops struggle as cyber-crime surges

By Staff Reporter


THE use plastic money in the country has contributed to a surge in cyber-crime at a time the police and court officials lack adequate training to deal with the problem.

This was said by Superintendent Amos Tavaziva of the ZRP’s General Crime Division (Cyber Crime) during a recent Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Internet Governance Forum (IGF) which was held in the capital Harare.

Tavaziva said cyber-crime has been on the rise since the country embraced plastic money to ease cash shortages.

Plastic money now accounts for 80 percent of transactions in the country’s urban areas.

“Use of plastic money to ease liquidity challenges has also come with its fair share of challenges as cyber-crimes have also increased in the country,” said Tavaziva.

He said this year alone, police recorded 618 cases of cyber-crime compared to just 38 last year.

Fictitious bank accounts and phone lines were being opened to commit offences on the internet while adding card cloning was also on the increase.

According to Tavaziva, the lack of modern equipment and expertise was adversely impacting police efforts to tame cyber-crime and bring culprits to book.

“We need modern equipment and expertise to help us in gathering evidence,” he said.

“We have to rely on service providers via court orders. This is a new crime trend for the police, the judiciary and the prosecution.

“There is need for training. Yes, we have convictions, but not as much as you would want to hear.”

The forum sought to, among other things, discuss the Cyber Crime and Cyber Security Bill which is set to be tabled before Parliament in the next few weeks.

The bill has been pending since 2013 amid fears that authorities would increase spying and prying into people’s lives, especially political opponents of the establishment.