Faced with criticism for their rude behaviour way too often, the Kangra police have launched a social media course to get an image makeover, rebuild trust among the public and improve community relations. Cops now have an opportunity to develop social media skills through a series of training workshops being organized by the district police headquarters.
"The initiative is aimed at not only social media skills among the force but also behavioural change in policing," said deputy superintendent of police Hitesh Lakhanpal. The holistic programme, initiated by superintendent of police Abhishek Dular, is being organized in collaboration with the National Institute of Information Technology (NIIT), a private company engaged in skills and talent development.
"Under the programme the police force will be acquainted with the importance of social media sites and apps like Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter and prudential use of the platforms," Lakhanpal said.
Cops in the age group of 30 to 45 will be covered under the programme. Those who are young and tech savvy will get their skills honed while those who are ignorant about the internet will be taught the basics of social networking and operation of email accounts.
"People of all ages connect with each other and the organization they want to hear from through social networking sites. To help connect with communities we serve, the Kangra police is also crafting a presence on social media sites and have a Facebook page with over 1,500 followers while a blog has been started regularly. Through these digital tools cops can share information about issues of public concern and collect citizens' feedback. Besides, it will help them mingle in the community, build better relations and thus avail of an opportunity to improve the sagging reputation of the police force," Lakhanpal added.
He said one in the series of planned workshops was recently held at district police headquarters with a batch of 15 constables and more are on the cards at various venues across the district.
To enable easy contact with the public, the police recently introduced a Close User Group (CUG) plan to provide permanent numbers from top ranks to station house officers. The numbers will be related to the post rather than the person. Therefore, even if there is a rejig, the numbers will remain the same. The list of numbers of all officials is also available on the Kangra police's Facebook page.