Police may have reached UP highway robbery victims sooner if they called 100 | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Police may have reached UP highway robbery victims sooner if they called 100

Officials say they have the ability to track people based on their mobile connections, and could have saved time looking for family that lost a member to robbers near Yamuna Expressway if they made the 100 call themselves

india Updated: May 27, 2017 10:50 IST
Rajesh Kumar Singh

The UP police say they could have reached the victims of the highway robbery near Greater Noida within minutes if they had called 100 instead of their relatives back home, an official in the department said.

A family of eight was attacked by robbers at around 1.30am on Thursday when they were on their way to Bulandshahr from Jewar on a desolate stretch close to the Yamuna Expressway. One of the men in the group was shot dead and the women said they had been raped. The case triggered fresh criticism of law and order in the country’s most populous state.

Officials said the victims first called a relative in Jewar, who made the call to police.

“A police response vehicle (PRV) located the relative in minutes, but since he had no idea where the victims were, we had to start canvassing the highway,” said additional director general (ADG) Anil Agarwal, in-charge of the UP-100 programme.

PRVs, Agarwal explained, are equipped with devices that can relay the approximate location from where an emergency call was made to 100.

The call lands at a centre in Lucknow, which gets the approximate location of the caller based on the mobile network towers from where he or she was connected. This information is passed on to screens in the PRVs, which are supposed to reach a victim with 30 minutes in rural areas and 15 in cities, the ADG said.

In Thursday’s incident, the victim’s relative in Jewar was far from the crime scene.

“The mobile phone of the victims was switched off, making it difficult for the UP-100 team to locate them,” said Agarwal.

In the region, each PRV patrols a 30-km area and several were deployed to look for the family.

When a team found the victims, the suspects had fled leaving one person dead and the others tied up.

UP-100, an integrated emergency service, was launched by the previous government headed by the Samajwadi Party in November.

The project began with 1,500 squad cars deployed across the state, managed from a control room in Lucknow that receives all calls made to 100 from within the state.

Agarwal said that since its launch, UP-100 teams have rescued and attended to scores of people involved in accidents and crimes on highways.

Highways are typically a blind spot for local police in India, and emergency response is complicated by matters of jurisdiction.

The UP programme earned praise from the Union government’s Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD), which urged governments in other states to replicate the model.

During a presentation by police and home department in April, UP’s new chief minister Yogi Adityanath too stressed on the strengthening the UP-100 service.