Mumbai police have taken the use of smartphones and its apps to the next level. Besides these being used as just tools for chatting, apps such as WhatsApp, Hike, Messenger, and the likes are being increasingly used by city police to investigate, transfer important crime reports and statistics, transmit photographs of crime spots, suspects, accused and victim, and even to exchange minutes of a meeting.
According to senior police officers, almost 90% of officials from across Mumbai Police — right from the top level to the level of constables — are using apps such as WhatsApp to carry out their daily routine works and exchange information among the peers.
Additional commissioner of police, north region of Mumbai Police, Sunil Paraskar, said, “I actively promote the use of apps such as WhatsApp among my officers. For officers who are on the field all the time, it is the best way to transmit information and alert their peers.”
He added that these tools have helped officers speed up investigations. “We had a suspect who had fled to Nashik after committing a robbery. After nailing him down, all we had to do was to click his picture and send it to the victim for identification via the app. All this makes our jobs easy and efficient,” said Paraskar.
Of late, even the main police control room sends it daily crime reports via apps. “The whole exercise also helps us keep a record of the information.
There is better coordination among officers from different regions and police stations. And what used to take hours earlier now takes a matter of seconds,” said Kaisar Khalid, additional commissioner of police, east region.
Krishna Prakash, additional commissioner of police, south region, said, “These apps help in collecting evidence, observing and informing immediately. They only add to our convenience and save a lot of time and energy.
If a senior, sitting miles away, needs a report, all we have to do is to take a snapshot of the pages and send it via the app. It is also gratifying to see that officers at every level are quite tech-savvy, compared to what the situation was a few years ago.”
Curbing crimes against women
India Open Your Eyes, an app launched by the east region of Mumbai Police, in association with an NGO, aims to curb crimes against women. Whenever a person witnesses inappropriate activities, law-and-order problems, crimes or simply an unsafe spot, she or he can immediately tag the location and feed information via the app.
The information reaches the east control room server, from where action is taken. Kaisar Khalid, additional commissioner of police, east region said, “So far, we have detected about 12 such complaints.”