Image makeover: Punjab Police to hire private firm for strong presence on social media | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Image makeover: Punjab Police to hire private firm for strong presence on social media

“The idea came into my mind after my interaction with two youths who were recently arrested by our intelligence wing in connection with their involvement in terrorist activities. They were having no such background, but got attracted or rather fell in the net of extremist groups through social media. At that point of time, I realised that the police also need to have strong presence on all social media platforms to counter misleading information by anti-social elements,” he said.

punjab Updated: Aug 03, 2017 09:48 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Director general of police (DGP) Suresh Arora said the need to hire an expert agency was felt in view of the huge penetration of social media into the minds of the young and professionals.
Director general of police (DGP) Suresh Arora said the need to hire an expert agency was felt in view of the huge penetration of social media into the minds of the young and professionals. (HT File/representative image)

Struggling to go in for an image makeover, the Punjab Police are planning to hire a private agency to make a grand entry into the social media world.

A meeting of the top police brass is scheduled here for Thursday, wherein certain private companies having expertise in social media publicity have been invited to give a detailed presentation about their proposals. Talking to Hindustan Times, director general of police (DGP) Suresh Arora said the need to hire an expert agency was felt in view of the huge penetration of social media into the minds of the young and professionals, and importance of these media in disseminating information.

“The idea came into my mind after my interaction with two youths who were recently arrested by our intelligence wing in connection with their involvement in terrorist activities. They were having no such background, but got attracted or rather fell in the net of extremist groups through social media. At that point of time, I realised that the police also need to have strong presence on all social media platforms to counter misleading information by anti-social elements,” he said.

As per a proposal prepared in the DGP office, the Punjab Police will make a strong presence on all social media platforms, including Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter. They will also launch an ‘app’ which will facilitate people to register complaints online, besides showcasing the history of the Punjab Police.

At present, the Punjab Police have only nominal presence on the social media as their various accounts are not active for the past several months. The Twitter account of the police is showing last activity on August 31 last year. On Facebook, groups like ‘Punjab Police Rocks’ and ‘Modern Punjab Police’ are active but they are being run by some individuals, not officially from the police headquarters.

Sources said an extensive plan is being made by senior officials designated by the DGP to finalise the content with which the misinformation about the police, law and order or the state can be countered.

“We are involving our senior men in the task in order to keep the focus of the social media activism only on the Punjab Police,” the DGP said. In the current scenario, countering misinformation spread by gangsters and other anti-social elements has become a major challenge for the cops and tackling this propaganda by merely issuing statements in newspapers is not good enough.

Police get Rs 20 crore for monitoring social media

The Punjab Police has recently received Rs 20 crore from the state government to specifically monitor activities of different groups on social media. In the past six months, the police have busted five Khalistani modules by getting inputs from Facebook, sources said. The intelligence wing, headed by DGP Dinkar Gupta, has been entrusted with the task of purchasing modern technology and strengthening the Punjab Police’s cyber cell.