Interesting ! thats the first word that came to my mind when I started seeing articles about Indian Police using Facebook now. Well its not just the guys using it for personal purposes, when I say that I mean its not just for cops who are on Facebook, but for Police work. A while back I had written about how the American Police is beginning to catch some criminals who are using Facebook, using well Facebook as evidence.
But here is a news I never thought I will be write about, not for the near future at least. But Indian cops are catching up, and how ? A small Google search will first of all bring you up links of many Police pages on Facebook the prominent of them being the Delhi Police. The innovation is not only in the fact that they have one, but how they use it. They have converted their page into a sort of crowd sourced traffic camera for Delhi, where the fans can post pictures of law breakers. Whats interesting to note is that Delhi Police have apparently now issued over 650 traffic tickets based on these pictures.
Now I would be wowed at the news, but to be honest, the fear of someone driving a car and trying to take a picture of someone breaking the law is not really legal, cos well they are using the phone while driving and not concentrating on the road. Plus there are those awesome Photoshop artists among us, who can well make anything happen with the right kind of images. Moving away from just Facebook, it gets interesting with twitter, now you can get traffic updates in Delhi with their dedicated twitter channel, also processions and upcoming rallies etc.
While the Facebook page reaches thousands of people, the vast majority of residents here are not connected to it. Just one in four people in urban India has Internet access, and Internet users tend to be the wealthiest. Facebook said in July that users from India passed the 12 million mark.
The authorities have embraced the Facebook informants in part because the dangers of driving in India are ever-present. India has more traffic fatalities than any country in the world, and the number of new, untrained drivers has skyrocketed in recent years as the Indian middle class grows. The system of roads and the police are ill-equipped to handle the crush.
Check out their Twitter channel here : http://twitter.com/#!/dtptraffic
Facebook Page of Dubai Police is here : http://www.facebook.com/dtrafficpolice1
But still its an innovation that is a good sign that our sort of ageing Police infrastructure can actually get into the new world. Wonder if Dubai Police is going to adopt something like this, maybe even Bangalore Police. We will have to wait and watch ?