Technology helps bridge gap between police and residents
City police have own website, mobile app, Facebook and Twitter account
NAVI MUMBAI: Reena Daimary, 25, a Bodo girl from Assam was upset after some people called her ‘chinky’ while walking on the road at Kopar Khairane in August last year. It was not the first time she had faced such a situation.
She was so angry that she wanted to send out a strong message to the police on the Internet. But, she couldn’t. The Navi Mumbai police were not acquainted with social networking sites, website and mobile app.
However, things have changed in the past four to five months. The first initiative the police took in digitalising their systems was to launch their own website in November last year. They had been using the Maharashtra state police’s website for displaying some of their contact numbers for the previous 21 years.
The website was helpful for residents. Apart from taking details of different department of the police, residents can now lodge a complaint through it. Within a few weeks, the police launched a mobile app ‘ Citizen Cop’ for women’s safety. It was designed in such a way that citizens can send information to the police within a few seconds. They can also send images, videos and audios to support their complaints.
The mobile app was followed by a Twitter account which was launched by police commissioner Prabhat Ranjan on January 26. This account has now become a virtual guideline for the city residents especially for the young generations.
The cops’ digital journey, however, did not end there. They created two separate accounts for the police and the cyber cell on Facebook. Their latest initiative is a WhatsApp number for resi- dents. And to monitor all these mediums, they also started a social media lab at the police commissioner’s office.
Dilip Sawant, deputy commissioner of police (crime), said, “We wanted to reduce the communication gap between the police and residents. It’s easy to send information through these sites. For example, 80% of the complaints we receive on Twitter are related to traffic issues which even our officers were not aware of.
Sawant said they have to verify everything before uploading information. “Whenever out team learns about an issue with possible threat to the law and order situation, they verify the facts and update a status on all our sites. They are also alert to posts that could hurt religious or political sentiments,” said Sawant.
Residents have welcomed the moves. Rajesh Puri, a resident of Ulwe, said, “I sent a complaint related to traffic in our neighbourhood on Facebook last month. In less than half an hour, I received a reply from the police and the problem was fixed in four days.”