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Bengaluru police constables learn to handle complaints uploaded on Twitter, Facebook

The social media team will also handle Periscope, Twitter's livestreaming app, for Bengaluru Police and a proposed police news channel.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Sep 14, 2015, 10.20 AM IST
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The social media team will also handle Periscope, Twitter's livestreaming app, for Bengaluru Police and a proposed police news channel.
The social media team will also handle Periscope, Twitter's livestreaming app, for Bengaluru Police and a proposed police news channel.
BENGALURU: It all started with a walkie-talkie message relayed to all police stations in August last year. The call of duty, however, was unique: The requirement was to set up a team to handle complaints on social media.

Twenty constables were packed into the social media control room of Bengaluru police with hardly any training and little by way of procedure or guidelines. The public response on Twitter and Facebook was a flood and they had been thrown into the deep end.

They emerged as a crack team, introducing to the public a refurbished and responsive team of guardians and raising the profile of Bengaluru police nationally as a tech-savvy force, thanks also to support from the top brass. Many of the cases have been small -such as tracking and booking a case against an errant auto driver in 48 hours -but effective enough to win overwhelming public praise.

The team's success has reinvigorated the police, motivating it to ingrain technology to map, prevent and solve crimes.

All this, with not a single one of them receiving any formal training except for a social media boot camp.

A typical day for the constables, who work in shifts, starts by taking stock of crimes that happened the previous day and their first Tweets or Facebook posts are to update the public about these. "Many times, the law and order police consult us for details of the profiles of accused or victims," said a member of the team, requesting ano nymity .

They have been given a few, simple thumb rules to follow -be patient, be gentle in response, follow proper channels of re porting public com plaints to police stations and promptly update complainants of action taken.

"Our social media team is doing well. We respond to complaints that come from Twitter and Facebook and flag it off with the police station concerned," DCP (Command Control) Nagendra Kumar said.

The social media team will also handle Periscope, Twitter's livestreaming app, for Bengaluru Police and a proposed police news channel.

Ramprasad, a police inspector who took charge of the social media team six months ago, recently organised a one-month training in Delhi on social media and cyber crime.

A Constable with Social Media Skills

The role of constable Lokesh HM, a former call cen tre employee, is considered cardinal for Bengaluru police's social media initiative. He was drafted into the computer section in 2010 when Jyotiprakash Mirji was the city police commissioner. When the city police got its own Facebook page, the then commissioner Raghavendra H Auradkar asked Lokesh to man it. Later, MN Reddi identified Lokesh's interest in social media and tasked him with helping make policing through Twitter a success.

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