Big brother is watching – on the internet too!
Last post got me thinking about other government initiatives that could possibly have a social media presence and, more importantly, their success rates. Curiosity got the better of me; I started looking for other government-led pages and landed on the Delhi Traffic Police Facebook Page.
I discovered that this page was launched by the Delhi Traffic Police during the time of the Commonwealth Games to keep people posted about the traffic situation across the city and also receive feedback from commuters on any traffic troubles. Although the Games were temporary, this page continues to be hugely popular and has evolved to serve several more purposes. It now keeps citizens posted about the new drives by the Traffic police. In turn, citizens are using it as a forum to ask queries, express their grievances, share suggestions for improvement as well as report any traffic rule violators. Citizens have been uploading photographs of various traffic violations, which otherwise go unnoticed, like people driving without a helmet or having an incorrect number plate. Moreover, citizens are also reporting any improper behavior or violation by the traffic policemen as well. About 51,000 people are now following this page!
The Delhi Traffic Police also have a Twitter handle – where they constantly update regular traffic updates from across the city as well as forewarn city-dwellers about any upcoming events/ work that may be a hindrance to them in terms of traffic.
The police now have a dedicated team who just follow these social media channels and promptly reply and take actions on the postings. They have now also started issuing challans (tickets) to violators based on photographs posted on Facebook, clearly displaying the violator identity (i.e. number plate of vehicle) as well as the violation.
Of course (like in everything good), there is a debate about its appropriateness, validity of these photographs as well as safety of the reporters, yet there is no doubting the success of the Delhi Traffic Police Initiative. As they say – Mimicry is the best form of flattery – soon to follow suit were the traffic police departments of Goa, Pune, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Kolkatta & Hyderabad.
However, as the table shows, this seems to be one area in which the Delhi Traffic Police leaves the other city forces far behind.