Lending an ear to woes

Online grievances

Lending an ear to woes

It won’t be long before all forms of communication are restricted to social networking websites. Whether it’s micro-blogging sites like Twitter or visually interactive platforms like Facebook and YouTube, we will be dependent on the internet for even the smallest of things. Going with the flow, governmental services have also taken to interacting with people (or users) on such websites, especially Twitter. The Bangalore City Police is an example of how 140 characters is enough to communicate with the City.

They have cashed in on the fact that people seem easily approachable on social media platforms and bond better in a virtual space. Both the Law and Order wing and the Bengaluru Traffic Police have their own full-fledged desks dedicated to monitoring and tracking their respective online pages. The latest addition to this increasingly virtual space is that people can WhatsApp their complaints to the cops.

The police claim that this has helped them connect with people better and the process works well the other way as well. While a few people are thrilled with the active police presence on social networking sites, others feel the grievances of people and the complaints that are posted are lost in this massive maze.

     Jawahar Bekay, a consultant entrepreneur, is a regular ‘Twitterati’ who never fails
to post traffic violations or any other problems that he may face on the Twitter page of the Bangalore City Police. He observes that his comments are being noted and forwarded to the respective police jurisdictions but nothing is being done after that. “While it is great that the cops are interacting with people on social media, it helps if the issue that is posted by the citizens is followed up and a solution is found,” he says.

   Jawahar also feels that the negligence may be because the police has more important matters to attend to. Priya Jaishankar, a businesswoman, feels the complaints posted on social networking sites lose their value.

“I would rather go to a police station and voice my complaint than let it lose its importance by posting on a social networking site. It could easily get lost and who would notice it?” she wonders.   

But there is a section of society that feels people must be encouraged to interact with the police on such sites, but must be a little careful about what is posted. Jitesh Pamnani, an IT professional, points out that he has never had to interact with the cops but admires the way they connect with people on the social media platform.

     “This has brought the cops closer to the people and increased transparency in some way. I’ve noticed that they respond better when you tweet, post a comment or a complaint on the Facebook pages,” he says.

     He also feels that it helps if people are cautious while posting comments on social media. “You can either make or mar the image of a person on the internet, so it helps to take a little care.”

Echoing Jitesh’s views, Waseem Memon, a professional, thinks social media is the quickest way to connect with the public at a micro level. “The Twitter and Facebook pages of the Bangalore Traffic Police are active all the time. The police actually take note of the complaints posted on these sites and act upon them almost immediately,” he says.  
Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), MA Saleem, informs that he always has two people working in two separate shifts, monitoring the pages.

     “We have people posting comments about traffic jams as well as traffic violations
and we respond by informing the police station in the respective jurisdiction. The
complaints are always about non-functional signal lights, traffic jams and non-cooperative autorickshaw drivers,”he says.

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