How The Indian Police Is Improving Public Relations Through Twitter

Following several rape incidents in the country, we look at how the police heads in Delhi and Bangalore are using Twitter to handle PR

DCP Madhur Verma

Delhi Police must be lauded for its smart use of social media, particularly in the way it handled the recent Uber rape case. Exactly two years to this day, the Delhi police department was rebuked on its poor handling of the 2012 December 16 gang rape case. Neeraj Kumar, the then Delhi Police Commissioner, at the end of his term had blamed poor public relations for the bad name his force had got.

This time the Delhi police has chosen Twitter to share timely updates on the investigation. The department has got Madhur Verma, Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) to tweet live updates about every development in the Uber rape case investigation. Verma under whose jurisdiction the incident had taken place, tweeted through his official handle @DCP_North_Delhi during the investigation of the case.

Finding the Uber office in Gurgaon to pinning the rape accused driver who was trying to flee from Mathura, all within 36 hours of the incident has earned the Delhi Police all round praise. The tech savvy DCP had downloaded the Uber app and booked a cab, after his junior officials were unable to locate a contact number on the Uber website.

When the cab arrived, the DCP asked the driver to drive the Sarai Rohilla SHO to its office in Gurgaon from where investigators got the first breakthrough in the case, stated an officer associated with the case. Here are a few of the live tweets on the Uber rape case.

A day after, when a woman named Nidhi Shah had come forward to complain about the same Uber driver, Shiv Kumar Yadav for indecent behaviour, DCP Verma tweeted to her that she can make a formal police complaint through email too. Nidhi Shah is based in the US and was visiting India when the incident occurred in November.

It was also reported that the DCP’s Twitter following has grown after the successful investigation. At present, the Twitter handle has 3K+ followers and is growing by the day. It is impressive to see the Delhi Police making constructive use of social media especially curbing widespread panic situations.

The Bangalore police too had to resort to social media following the rape of a six-year old student at a public school. The new Bangalore Police Commissioner MN Reddi, who was appointed in the wake of a series of rape cases in the city, has been addressing issues of citizens through @cpblr on Twitter.

A few days back, the Bangalore police had received a few threat calls after the arrest of Mehdi Masroor Biswas, the man accused of being behind the pro-ISIS Twitter handle @ShamiWitness. “We will not leave our brothers in your hand. Revenge is coming wait for our reaction,” said a tweet from @abouanfal6 in response to Bangalore Crime DCP Abhishek Goyal’s tweet on Mehdi’s remand.

Before the city could get into panic mode, the Commissioner tweeted a public appeal. He assured all precautions are being taken on safety in the city.

Policing can be bettered through team work and the more our city police use social media to involve citizens, the better policing we can expect. It is assuring to be able to communicate and address issues to our police heads through social media.