BENGALURU: Bengaluru city police are no strangers when it comes to social media platforms. They are especially known for their humorous social media presence on Facebook and Twitter. Recently, the city police added themselves to yet another platform by joining short-video platform TikTok, already gaining 35.9k followers.
Described by Commissioner of Police, Bhaskar Rao as a ‘millennial-friendly’ initiative, the aim is to create awareness-based videos while also connecting with the city youth. “I am not bothered about whether platforms are text-centric or video-centric, I want to connect where people are present. Many youngsters are on TikTok, with whom we would like to communicate. We are also thinking of having a full-time social media consultant but sometimes that limits ideas, so we stay open to ideas instead,” Rao told City Express.
This move comes rather shortly after several state and city police departments such as Kerala Police and Uttarakhand Police also joined the platform to connect with citizens.
For mechanical engineer, Shreyas NS, the city police’s move to join the platform comes as a welcome move with respect to connecting with a younger audience. But he’s quick to add that it also addresses an underlying concern of youth being hooked to social media. “A fair number of the audience on TikTok waste a lot of time on the internet to watch irrelevant videos. This has caused a lot of drawbacks in their personal lifestyle and also leads to less overall productivity,” explained the 23-year-old.
When this was brought to Rao’s notice, he firmly asserted that while youngsters have no patience to read, pictures and infographics are language-neutral and more effective.
“Bengaluru has become a multi-cultural and multilingual city and I cannot stick to one language or translations, so we shifted to picture and graphic mode. Awareness, caution, information, our plans, seeking help and crowdsourcing of ideas, all of this can be communicated. A number of ideas the city police is implementing are coming from ordinary citizens, these are good ideas of the new generation, which we are trying to implement. In the coming months, I want to concentrate on the subjects of cybersecurity, drugs and women’s security,” he said, adding that TikTok would be suitable to bring about mass awareness.
According to a Karnataka High Court lawyer, Robin Christopher, it is crucial to point out certain shortcomings of the recent move. “Whenever the city police has uploaded their information on Facebook and Twitter, they rely on factual data, which can be from their cases,” he said, adding that the data should be divided into two categories. The first would be to inform people and the other being to exhibit the work the police has done previously.
“What I have come across is that these exhibits rely on actual cases, where, for example, they put up photos of people who have been arrested in cases in connection with narcotics or theft. What they fail to understand is that several of these people have lives outside the crimes they are accused of and the very underlying principle of our judiciary is that they ‘innocent until proven guilty’,” said Christopher.
He added that in order to exhibit their work and reach out to a larger audience, the city police uses images of the accused, which he terms as undignified and suggests they be careful with the content used especially in cases which do not focus on civic issues.
Other popular departments on social media (approximate following)
- Bengaluru City Traffic Police - Twitter: 6,00,000, FB: 4,93,300
- Bengaluru City Police - Twitter: 1.3M, FB: 6,60,600
- BESCOM - Twitter: 15,720, FB: 28,300
- BMTC - Twitter: 21,600, FB: 9,400
- BMRCL - Twitter: 14,000
- Former BBMP Commissioner Anil Kumar has 39,900Twitter followers while mayor Gautam Kumar has a total of 56,900