MUMBAI: Using technology to reduce response time to distress calls to 5-8 minutes from the current 10-15 minutes, Mumbai Police have equipped patrol vans with tablets.
So, now when the control room receives a distress call, it immediately tracks the patrol van closest to the spot via GPS and sends the information on the tablet. After reaching the spot, policemen also use the tablet to click photographs and videos to use as evidence.
"Currently, patrol vans in south Mumbai have been equipped with tablets as a pilot project. Once successful here, tablets can be given to vans across all police stations," an IPS officer said.
Police on patrol duty attend to situations which may or may not culminate in an FIR being registered. For instance, a marital squabble, an argument between neighbours, or a complaint about drug addicts frequenting an area. Policemen often mediate in disputes and counsel the people involved. "There are times when allegations are levelled at patrolling personnel for having a biased attitude towards one of the parties. A videorecording of the goings-on would make things clear when senior officers take a review," said a cop.Also, in some instances, false information about an incident or morphed photographs are uploaded on social media which could lead to a law and order problem. Here, photographs shot by the patrolling team using the tablet could be banked upon as authentic.There have, however, been some teething problems. The tablet logs out in areas where there is poor network and the personnel aboard the van have to be alerted to move to another area. This could delay response time. "We are working towards ironing out the glitches. Traditional wireless sets can be used to communicate with the patrol van team if the tablets can't connect temporarily," suggested a police officer.