The Delhi traffic police has launched an SMS alert service for users in case of traffic jams, water logging, accidents, roadblocks or traffic diversions, reports the Indian Express. The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology will provide bulk SMS service free of cost to the Delhi Police for this initiative for one year.

To use the service, users need to send an SMS to 9811452220 in the “S DTP username” format, post which users will get a confirmation message and will start providing traffic alerts in 24 hours. Users can unsubscribe from the service by sending an SMS to the same number in the format “S REM”.

Note that it’s not clear how many messages a user can expect to receive of a daily basis under this initiative. The initiative will be mostly beneficial to users without smartphones, as users with smartphones can get the relevant data via map apps, or even Google Now which almost always displays the roadblocks from the present location to wherever “Home” is set to. The Delhi police knows this and already offers similar services over Android app, Whatsapp, Twitter and Facebook as well.

Other than this, users can also use the SMS service to register their vehicles and find out pending notices in either the notice branch or in court. The service also provides information about vehicle ownership detail, although this feature is restricted to cops only. The Delhi traffic police initially launched the SMS service back in 2012 on a trial basis through a private company to check the viability. 

Note that the Pune traffic police has a similar service, although that is app based. It provides users with traffic alerts, a realtime traffic map, rickshaw fares, emergency phone numbers etc.

Other digital/online initiatives by the police:

– Last month, the Bangalore police launched a service that let users report crimes through Twitter’s live streaming app Periscope. Bangalore police would also use the app to live stream its press conferences, through which people watching could comment and interact live with.

– The Delhi Police decided to install digital camera on police cars to record violations, area and time of offence in March this year. The surveillance cameras would capture footage of vehicles driven in front of the car, but if the police wanted to record specific vehicles, they could change the focus of the camera.

– The same month, Bangalore-based autorickshaw hailing application mGaadi signed up with Bangalore police to revive the prepaid autorickshaw system in the city.

– In December last year, local commerce messaging platform Lookup partnered with Bangalore police to to help the public connect with the cops over chat. The service was first piloted in Koramangala Police Station and the police was to be be extended to other stations in the city as well.

– In November last year, the Bangalore City Police Crime Branch raided the offices of a fake online shopping portal called BigSop.com (now defunct) based on complaints received on Twitter.

– In the same month, Delhi Police formed a series of WhatsApp groups to enable residents in the riot-hit Trilokpuri area of East Delhi get in touch with them. Residents could use these groups to instantly report incidents of harassment and police in-action. In October, it had introduced a helpline on WhatsApp wherein Delhi citizens could send in audio and visual complaints of traffic violations. Kochi police had also launched a similar initiative that allowed citizens to report traffic violations in April last year.

– In August last year, Delhi Police had also launched an anti-corruption helpline (9910641064) on WhatsApp that allowed citizens to send audio and video clips, to the helpline in case a police officer demanded a bribe or harassed an individual.

Image source: Flickr user Ken Banks