Police keep a ‘hawk-eye’ on history-sheeters in Chennai

Real-time monitoring with Parundhu helps prevent crime, gang wars
The app was created to address the unavailability of HS database management and reporting systems in the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS).
The app was created to address the unavailability of HS database management and reporting systems in the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS). Illustration: Mandar Pardikar

CHENNAI: A few weeks ago, when a notorious history-sheeter was released from a prison in central Tamil Nadu, an assistant commissioner of police in Chennai south was woken up by a Whatsapp alert.

As soon as he saw the message, he immediately forwarded it to the beat officers and directed them to maintain a hawk-like vigil in the locality that the history-sheeter (HS) was active in, keep track of his activities and be on the watch to prevent untoward incidents.

This real-time monitoring of around 4,000 history-sheeters in the city to prevent crimes, break-out of gang wars and maintain law and order in the city is courtesy the in-house ‘Parundhu’ (Hawk) software developed by a team led by Prem Anand Sinha, additional commissioner of police (south Chennai).

The app was created to address the unavailability of HS database management and reporting systems in the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS). Supervisory officers can get real time updates on periodic checks conducted on history sheeters in jurisdictional police stations over time.

According to multiple cops in the city police, leveraging technology to maintain an effective watch over history-sheeters according to their crime history has helped them stay a few steps ahead. The app has features that help cops follow up cases against history-sheeters which are under investigation and those pending trial, thereby improving chances of conviction.

Earlier, Chennai police was dependent on a paper-based system which had a time lag of a few days. Cops would have to refer to voluminous documents to get a background of the HS and spend precious hours preparing a report for review by senior officials.

“By the time a HS returned home, met gang members and got involved in, say, a gang war, we would not even be aware that he had been released from prison. But now once we get the automated alert, we send out beat cops to track their known locations immediately and keep track,” an ACP said.

The application also has features to broadcast the alerts for quick communication, provide intelligence alerts on history-sheeters for immediate action and give summaries of gangs and non-bailable warrant (NBW) cases.

With a few clicks, the entire chain of police officers right from a sub-inspector up to the commissioner can view the entire profile of the offender, the types of offences they have committed, how many times they have been to jail and other information. It is given in the form of a data-sheet.

An inspector working in Central Chennai said that the app is useful in case of monitoring history-sheeters belonging to rival gangs as the app has the feature to segregate them based on the groups that they are part of.

“The quality of preventive checks has improved. Every HS must be inspected at least once a month, data of which also reflects in the system. This helps us control them,” he said.

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