The District Police launched a WhatsApp number to enable people to register complaints and intimate the police in case of any emergency, here on Wednesday. Launching the number 8142003339, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Ch. Srikanth said the number was initiated to take the police closer to the people. According to him any person in distress can send a message or call the number for help, take a picture or a video of an accident or crime and post them on the number for action.
The number will be manned by a response team 24/7 at the District Police Control Room. In case of emergencies, the response team will alert the nearest police station or the mobile party for immediate action.
The response team will not only forward the message, but also call up the officer concerned to see that action is initiated. “The response time may vary depending on the distance and the terrain to be covered. But it is expected that on an average it could be close to 15 to 30 minutes, as the rural police stations are far flung,” said Mr. Srikanth.
Visakhapatnam district has about 40 police stations, which includes about 20 in the Agency areas.
Mr. Srikanth told The Hindu that the number was initiated not only for emergency response, but to facilitate women and old people, who do not intend to come to a police station to lodge a complaint.
Basing on the nature and gravity of the complaint, action will be initiated. “If it is a cognizable offence, then the complainant will be asked to come to the police station to file a written FIR, otherwise preliminary enquiry will be initiated at the site by the investigating officer,” he said.
The senior officers have been told to undertake periodic monitoring of the system. The officers will not only check the log of the complaints received but also review the action taken and a report will be submitted, periodically.
According to Mr. Srikanth the success of the system depends on awareness created among the public, the pro-activeness of the response team, action taken by the officers concerned, regular monitoring of the system by higher officers and success stories of the system.