Tech­nol­ogy helps bridge gap be­tween police and res­i­dents

City police have own web­site, mo­bile app, Face­book and Twit­ter ac­count

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - HT NAVI MUMBAI - Pranab Jy­oti Bhuyan pranab.bhuyan@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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.”

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