City police shows the way in social media

City police shows the way in social media

City police shows the way in social media

The Bengaluru City police force leads all other government agencies in leveraging the power of social media to engage with the public. Over the last one year, the City police have effectively used social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp to ensure accountability and transparency in the force besides quick reaction and speedy disposal of a large number of cases.

“We are the best in the country when it comes to the usage of social media in daily policing and the initiative has further reduced the gulf between the police and the public,” says the City police commissioner N S Megharik. Social media is interactive and acts as a Public Relations (PR) cell, he adds.

The City police had ventured into social media as a platform to get connected with the public and help them lodge complaints online, about two years ago. It was M N Reddi, the then City Police Commissioner, who tread a new path by engaging his forces directly with the common man using social media.

The complaints that came in through social media were from those victims who would otherwise not approach the police in person. The new platforms--Twitter handles, Facebook and WhatsApp offered them options to lodge complaints without meeting the police. They could get in touch with a constable or the Commissioner himself quickly. Over time, this interactive platform grew in popularity.

“Social media may not solve problems, but surely ensures some action at the earliest. However, we receive thousands of grievances not linked to the police department such as piling up of garbage, lack of streetlights, bad road engineering, etc. Such complaints help us pass on the grievances to the agencies concerned, acquaint the ground force with the real situation and keep them alert,” Megharik points out.

A social media desk functions at the City Police Commissioner office’s control room. It has a strength of 30 policemen, including constables, head constables and a deputy commissioner to handle grievances.

“We have trained our staff in handling the social media platforms. We redirect the grievances to the police stations and officers concerned and ensure that the victims are in direct contact with the officers,” informs Deputy Commissioner of Police (Command Centre ) Nagendra Kumar.

“At present, the City police (including traffic) have about 14 lakh followers on social media and the number is fast increasing. The police get about 50 grievances a day besides around 10,000 calls a day at the control room. We get all types of complaints including harassment, cheating and robbery,” he adds.