Noida among cities selected to trial digital volunteers project
As a pilot project, the UP Police will implement the plan in Noida, Lucknow, Allahabad, Kanpur, Varanasi, Sitapur and Barabanki. These volunteers will be used to communicate correct information during any crisis in a city or village. Through this initiative, the police are expecting to control rumours during crisis situations.noida Updated: Jun 12, 2017 22:03 IST
The Uttar Pradesh Police is mulling to call for ‘digital volunteers’ to reach out to the public through social media in crisis situations, such as the recent Saharanpur clash, train accidents, crime against women and riots.
As a pilot project, the UP Police will implement the plan in Noida, Lucknow, Allahabad, Kanpur, Varanasi, Sitapur and Barabanki.
Recently, the UP Police tweeted seeking suggestions to create a credible and strong digital volunteer base. “Social media is playing a massive role in mobilising people for any cause. We also want to use this medium to reach out to the maximum number of people. The digital volunteers can help us in multiple ways to combat crime and maintain law and order during a crisis,” Rahul Shrivastav, spokesperson for the UP Police, said.
These volunteers will be used to communicate correct information during any crisis in a city or village. Through this initiative, the police are expecting to control rumours during crisis situations.
“Rumours can create a lot of havoc in problematic situations such as those we faced during the Saharanpur clashes. These volunteers can help by giving out credible information about the whole situation to people through social media,” Shrivastav said.
On May 5, a Dalit group had objected to a procession of Thakurs to mark the birth anniversary of Rajput king Maharana Pratap, which triggered violence, leaving one dead and over 15 injured.
The police said that in case of a train accident or a stampede, it becomes difficult for people to find out about the well-being of one’s relatives and friends, so they are planning to use these volunteers to give out information about helpline numbers, names of those injured and dead.
“These digital volunteers, through various social media platforms, can give credible information on missing people and also circulate important contact numbers. These people can work as a link between the force and the public,” Shrivastav said.
The police are also planning to streamline traffic movement by informing citizens of diversions and jams through the digital medium.
The police department will maintain a database of the ‘digital volunteers’, including details such as names, addresses and other important information. The police are also planning to run social media campaigns with the help of these volunteers. Volunteers will also be rewarded for their contribution towards maintaining peace and harmony in the state, the police said.
At present, senior police officers are brainstorming with experts and citizens to come up with a system for digital volunteers.
The police are hopeful that the digital volunteers will help build a bridge between the force and the public, mainly those who aren’t tech-savvy. “Citizens who are not active on social media can approach these volunteers to get in touch with the police. They can also inform us about problems faced by citizens,” Shrivastav said.