Help! Too Many Operators But Too Few Calls - The New Indian Express

Help! Too Many Operators But Too Few Calls

Published: 23rd Feb 2014 08:52:45 AM

Five phone lines, 20 operators but only 15 calls in 10 days. The figures pretty much sum up the impact the helpline for people from the North-east (1093) has had in the capital. But then it appears to be the same story for the eight other helplines in operation in Delhi. Thanks to lack of awareness, most calls are made to 100, the Delhi Police Control Room, for where they are diverted to the relevant numbers immediately.

There are 400 people attending to calls made on 100. But the Delhi Police is facing under-utilisation of manpower as far as the other helplines are concerned with the 92 constables deputed for them having virtually no work to do.

For the eight helplines of Delhi police, there are 123 separate lines running at a time, which are manned by 492 people working in three shifts. When a new helpline is started, the sanctioned staff, who are of constable rank, are sourced from 11 Delhi Police districts, with its combined personnel strength of 8,000.

“Whenever a new line is started, we have to take some staff from our PCR units. It does affect our other works, but as that is the need, we have to do it,” said Additional Commissioner of Police (PCR), Paldan.

For example, 1093, the helpline number which was inaugurated on February 13 to provide quick help to people from the North-East residing in Delhi, has received only 15 calls till February 22 and 13 of them were diverted from 100.

Acccording to Paldan, as most people were unaware about 1093, first preferred to call on 100.  “But all the calls related to North-east people are finally diverted to 1093,” he said. 

So, the problem of providing quick relief to North-east residents in distress remains. Explaining the system at work at present, an operator of the 1093 line said: “People first call 100 and it is diverted to 1093, so that takes some time. The 1093 attendant receives the call and notes down the problem. Next, the attendant informs the police station nearest to the place of incident and a PCR van is dispatched to resolve the issue, something that could have been handled by the operator of the 100 line just after receiving the call.”

The 1093 has five separate lines handled by 20 policemen in three shifts. Like 1093, the 1091, 1092, 1096 and 1291 helpline numbers have been functioning to help women in distress. To handle these lines, at least 48 people are deputed in one shift with a total of 192 policemen working as operators for them.

“In the beginning, 1091 was to help women in distress with eight separate lines, 1092 for women and senior citizens with three lines, 1096 for anti-stalking with three lines and 1291 for children with three lines. But, later all these lines were merged as similar kinds of calls were being received on every line. In spite of these lines, people call on 100 and we have to transfer these calls to the specific help lines,” said another police officer, on condition of anonymity.

Apart from the above mentioned helpline, there is 181 helpline which is being run by Delhi government, and 1094 for missing persons.

“Over 25,000 calls are received by all the helplines every day in which 12,000 calls are noted as blank calls while in the remaining 13,000 calls ; 10,000 calls are attended by PCR vans and 3,000 are solved on phone,” said T N Mohan, Special Commissioner of Police (Operations).

A police officer said that all the help line attendants work in three shifts that are divided in six hours each while one spare team of fourth shift is kept for every help line for emergency support.

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