Now, Bangalore police land in citizens' net

The City police seem to be lapping up the opportunities that social media presents. It has become a platform for the public to bring to the notice of the police anomalies they come across.

Senior officers are taking the social media route to respond, but with a rider that interaction through social networking sites cannot be an alternative to lodging complaints at stations. They can only bridge the gap at the ideas level and act as awareness tools, the police say.

“Dear Commissioner, Daily I see an inspector and a constable who comes in official Pulsar bike in the evening daily between 7:30 P.M to 8:30 P.M collects HAFTA from the street vendors like Vegetable vendors, Paani Poori/Fast food vendors and also from all the wine shops on Nagarabhavi Main Road ranging from Rs. 10 -Rs. 50. Is this their official duty? Why do they harass these vendors daily?”

So wrote Vishwanth Shankar on the newly launched Facebook community platform of the police. Pat came the reply within an hour from the City police: “Hi Vishwanath, we request you to note down details of the vehicles or even people involved if possible.

We would pass on the information to ACP Mr Uttappa whose contact no is 9480801707 ,080-22942153, he will definitely take further action . We have already informed ACP Mr Uttappa of the incidents. You could get in touch with him if you come across such an incident.”

It all started with the blog (blrcitypolice.wordpress.com) launched by the city police during the recent terror module investigations. Now, even City Police Commissioner B G Jyothiprakash Mirji is blogging.The recent Police Community Engagement Programme, a holistic online media strategy with a Facebook page, a blog, a twitter handle and a Youtube channel has been a huge hit. 

The initiative is just a fortnight old, launched by the home minister. By Sunday evening, the Facebook page has already had nearly 2,500 people subscribing to it and about 1,700 people talking about it and sharing it with friends. The initiative has been launched in collaboration with Havas Worldwide Digital Matrix company.

The range of posts on the page has grievances about traffic, lost mobile phones, Nigerian scamsters approaching them through mobile phone and e-mail and complaints of unprofessional behaviour by policemen.

Though initially only press notes from the PRO division were posted on the blog, of late, the top cops have started blogging. In his blog post on October 15, Mirji has talked about the recent case of miscreants posing as medical college officials and fleecing parents of prospective candidates, luring them with management seats. He has called upon parents not to entertain middlemen. The blog is targeted at those from other states.

B Dayananda, Joint Commissioner (Crime-East), who has been spearheading this initiative, has also taken to blogging. Sources say many senior officials will follow suit.
Some of the users have suggested that they should be able to register complaints on Facebook. Dayananda is quick to add that this platform cannot be an alternative to police stations. A dedicated team has been set up to respond to the posts.

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