Delhi Police launched an anti-corruption helpline (9910641064) using the messaging app WhatsApp on August 6th, reports IANS. Citizens can send audio and video clips, besides calling, to the helpline in case a police officer demands a bribe or harasses an individual. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Vigilance) Sindhu Pillai told the publication that within three days of the launch, 43 calls were received by the helpline, of which only 5 were genuine complaints. Action has been taken against three policemen. Pillai didn’t disclose the number of messages and clips received.
Advantages & disadvantages of WhatsApp: A WhatsApp-based helpline is potentially more effective than traditional landline-based helplines. Complainants can submit voice recordings, video clips and images of policemen harassing individuals. It acts as both the complaint and the proof. However, once the volume of complaints increases Delhi Police will face challenges in delegating cases, since WhatsApp doesn’t have a desktop app. Also, WhatsApp hasn’t released APIs, which makes it impossible for a third-party to create a CRM solution that integrates messages. This also means that among the 20 constables monitoring this line, only one device can receive the Whatsapp messages.
Report traffic violations via WhatsApp: It’s worth noting that earlier this year Kochi police launched an initiative that allowed citizens to report traffic violations by sending a message or image of the offending vehicle via WhatsApp.
Other social media and online initiatives by police across the country
In May 2014, Delhi Traffic Police launched an Android app that provides traffic alerts, can be used to report vehicle theft and even find auto fares. This app was developed by the IT Centre Police Head Quarters, which had also launched Delhi Police Lost Report app in March 2014 for lodging complaints about lost documents.
In February 2014, Delhi Police announced that it would allow people in Delhi to file a FIR online. It’s worth noting that Bangalore Police takes action based on complaints posted on its Facebook page. Delhi Police had also announced it would launch dedicated Facebook and Twitter accounts for people from the north-east in the city to post complaints and grievances, as indicated by this The Economic Times report.