New Straits Times - - Letters -

IREAD with a lot of hope and op­ti­mism the an­nounce­ment that the po­lice are en­cour­ag­ing the par­tic­i­pa­tion of the pub­lic via smart­phones to re­duce the crime rate through their Vol­un­teer Smart­phone Pa­trol (VSP) ap­pli­ca­tion.

This is an ex­cel­lent ini­tia­tive and long over­due.

We have seen how ef­fec­tive mo­bile de­vices are in ad­dress­ing crime in the world.

The ev­i­dence that is de­liv­ered via these de­vices pro­vides the po­lice with cred­i­ble in­for­ma­tion, which makes the job of in­ves­ti­gat­ing a crime more ef­fi­cient and quicker to solve.

Malaysia has the high­est smart­phone us­age per­cent­age and thus the pub­lic can mon­i­tor crim­i­nal and neg­a­tive so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties and en­sure the safety of com­mu­ni­ties.

How­ever, com­ing from the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions in­dus­try, I have con­cerns about it, based on the po­lice state­ment that they are tar­get­ing 4.8 mil­lion smart­phone users ini­tially.

There are thresh­olds for an ap­pli­ca­tion or prod­uct to func­tion ef­fi­ciently.

Once this is ob­tained, the sys­tem will slow down or shut down.

I hope that this new ap­pli­ca­tion can ac­com­mo­date the pro­jected as well as un­ex­pected surge in us­age by the pub­lic.

The other con­cern I have is whether the po­lice have the man­power to man­age this ap­pli­ca­tion.

Does the force have the ca­pa­bil­ity to do so?

We can also as­sume that most of these re­ports are go­ing to be re­ceived from ur­ban ar­eas with a higher num­ber of crimes and higher num­ber of smart­phone users, thus a higher con­cen­tra­tion of re­ports to man­age.

Are the po­lice pre­pared?

They also have to deal with false re­ports. Imag­ine the waste of re­sources run­ning af­ter false re­ports.

Maybe this ini­tia­tive could be im­ple­mented in stages. For ex­am­ple, we could start with taxi driv­ers, who are al­most ev­ery­where.

We could in­stall dash­board cam­eras in taxis to help po­lice mon­i­tor traf­fic of­fend­ers.

An in­cen­tive should be given to en­cour­age them to par­tic­i­pate.

For ex­am­ple, if they pro­vide vis­ual ev­i­dence of mo­torists break­ing traf­fic rules, a por­tion of the sum­monses’ re­ceipts can be given to taxi driv­ers.

Uber and GrabCar driv­ers can also be roped in. Af­ter all, they are all reg­is­tered and their par­tic­u­lars are avail­able, if needed.

Rela is an­other reg­is­tered body that can par­tic­i­pate in this ini­tia­tive.

So, too, other reg­is­tered bod­ies that have a sim­i­lar goal as the po­lice in re­duc­ing crime and be­ing their eyes and ears.

THOMAS SAMUEL Se­layang, Se­lan­gor


The Vol­un­teer Smart­phone Pa­trol app can help po­lice tackle crime more ef­fi­ciently.

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