BANGALORE: Which is the Government department that is often criticised for taking bribes by the public in the city but is now showing over 26,000 likes on its social networking site? Answer: Bangalore Traffic Police.
The Ministry of Urban Development recently conferred the ‘Award of Excellence’ on Bangalore Traffic Police. It seems to have galvanised the force to connect with the public through social networking sites. The Facebook page for Bangalore Traffic Police has 26,604 likes and many more followers, who finally have a chance to speak to the
police force directly.
The police understood the impact of social networking sites, when in July, 2011, the police saw a record 27,000 shares of a surveillance video of an accused in a hit-and-run case. The citizens too realised that the police department were responding to their suggestions and started posting photos of traffic violators on the page along with details of the offence.
The citizens use the page to post suggestions on improving traffic situations in certain areas of the city. Also seen on the page are videos of traffic police accepting bribes and information on non-functioning signals. The page administrator is prompt in replying to all posted messages.
The page soon saw up to ten entries a day. Photographs of violations were recorded on personal cameras like mobile phones and were posted on the page. The Traffic Police seized this opportunity to book the violators and send notices. “We take note of violations posted on the page and forward it to the Automation Enforcement Centre. A notice is then sent to the violator based on the photograph posted,” said Dr M A Saleem, Additional Commissioner of Police for Traffic and Security. The Automation Enforcement Centre (AEC) is the clearing centre for traffic violations captured via cameras and CCTV’s. The AEC has booked 13,02,917 cases up to November in 2011.
How to post pictures
It is simple. Citizens can take a photograph of the person violating any traffic rule. The license registration number of the vehicle and the violation should be clearly visible. The user who is posting the photo on Facebook must also mention the time and place of the violation and the make of the vehicle. To allay the fear of morphing, the AEC can counter check the posts using their cameras.
Currently, the highest number of photographs posted show violations like driving without a helmet or jumping a red signal. “There is not much to argue if there is a photo of you on a vehicle in the middle of the road without a helmet on,” explained Saleem.