Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Who's line is it anyway?

There are many things wrong about the policing system in India but the one that baffles and frustrates me the most is the constant squabbling over (police station) jurisdiction. This problem may seem overstated or incomprehensible for people who have been fortunate enough to NOT need police assistance in our country. However, this is the single most irritating aspect of policing in India since it occurs at the initial touch point when one calls the police helpline for assistance. 

The police are not so much concerned about the incident, its seriousness or the type of assistance required than by the jurisdiction where this incident has occurred. The worst part is that if you tell them the location they still won't be able to single out the police station and will not hesitate in asking your opinion about which police station the incident comes under.

My frustrations come from the belief that had been ingrained in my conscious mind (via movies, tv shows, tax receipts paid to the govt. etc) that whenever a police helpline is contacted and the location and incident spelled out, the closest available police van/s will be dispatched to help out or investigate.
No one ever told me that there could be a significant delay in helping me because the incident that I witnessed or was affected by happened be in a area which fell in an apparent no man's land.

This was also one of the many shortcomings that were highlighted in the Delhi police's response to the victims of the recent gang rape case in Delhi as well as the case of a TOI reporter who was harassed by an auto rickshaw driver who refused to take the reporter to her destination during the evening hours.

I know that there are many problems that are bigger and probably need more attention, but in my view this should be a quick and easy one to implement and something that could enhance the customer experience at the first touch point.

Also, I am convinced that there are simple and cost effective technology based solutions using smart phones and/or tablets that can be used to increase accountability and effectiveness of the police force in atleast the major cities. Any ideas/thoughts?

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