Meet the Meme Queen who radicalised Pune police’s social media game... for the better
The last week of December is often hectic for police where new year bashes are a norm and maintaining law and order is a challenge. The last day of the year, was however, different for the Pune police as they went on to win hearts – and some applause – on their Twitter handle.
The digitally-savy Pune police has been using pop culture and millennial slang to speak to the people of Pune. From witty responses to polite yet firm messages, netizens have enjoyed the quick and smart replies on Pune police twitter handle that has shut smart alecs asking about drugs or cell number of women.
The person behind this change is Sunchika Pandey, a Mumbai resident who is counselling police from Pune and Mumbai on social media outreach.
A journalist-turned-social media consultant, Pandey on her Twitter bio projects herself as “Twitter madam”.
In police circles too, she is known by the same epithet. “I am only doing a part of the job. Most of it is being done by Pune police,” said Pandey, on being asked about electrifying responses and growing followers to police handles.
Pandey studied journalism at St Xavier’s Institute of Communication following which she began working for a local TV channel.
It all began around four years ago when Pandey began advising Mumbai police about how to develop on social media. Her brief stint in crime journalism, she said, helped her understand the challenges that the police faced.
After a positive feedback from netizens, the Mumbai police Twitter handle gained momentum, which eventually led to other police centres approaching her for advice. Currently, Pandey is offering her consultancy to police force in Pune and Maharashtra (unit).
K Vekatesham, Pune police commissioner said, “We are doing it for citizens and to ensure they keep faith in police. The feedback received from citizens has been quickly acted on, which creates a sense of trust among them for police. And this is important for us.”
Born in Ranchi, Pandey’s first job using social media was when she joined team of TV show Satyamev Jayate where she handled the social media account of the popular TV show. It was during her stint here, she came across Bangalore police twitter handle, that made her think of staring a new agency to help the police force in Mumbai.
“Be it in journalism school or while working as crime reporter and with the team of Satyamev Jayate, I learnt a lot which helped me later while helping police and other government agencies.”
“My role is very little. The real heroes of all these social media accounts are the constables and officers who monitor these handles round the clock and ensure every concern is addressed. That is what made these accounts a hit with citizens,” said Pandey.
The role of Pandey’s firm, as senior officials said, is to advise police on how to be brief, prompt and positive on social media. “The police knows better than us, they are technically sound. My agency’s job is to only guide them on strengths and weaknesses of social media, which can make or mar anyone’s image,” said Pandey.
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