Press 1 for help after dialing 100; Gurgaon police introduce voice response system

The IVRS has cut out fake calls by 80% in its trial run, but the trial project delays response time by 5-10 seconds, which may prove costly to persons in distress situations

gurgaon Updated: Oct 23, 2017 23:57 IST
Abhishek Behl
Abhishek Behl
hindustan times
gurgaon,gurgaon police,gurgaon news
To prevent fake calls from flooding the Gurgaon police control room, an interactive voice response system was installed on October 15 on trial basis.(Parveen Kumar/HT Photo)

Gurgaon police control room eliminates 80% fake calls with voice response system

Gurgaon: The Gurgaon police control room (PCR), where phone lines remained jammed with blank calls making it difficult for citizens to get help by dialing 100, has installed an Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) to ensure that those in distress can reach the police without faster.

The IVRS is an automatic response mechanism that helps callers get information, share information and transfer calls to operators on the basis of the response code.

One glitch that the Gurgaon police will have to fix in the new IVRS system is to ensure that a distress caller who wants to report a heinous crime is not bogged down by the response system.

For instance, the 5-10 seconds that it takes for a person to dial 100 and then press ‘1’, might just prove costly for the caller and help may not reach him/her on time.

Officials said that they are aware of this problem and the pilot phase was aimed at identifying, fine-tuning and resolving such issues.

In its pilot run, which was started on October 15, the IVRS was able to reduce the number of blank calls by almost 80%, thus making it easier for citizens to connect with the city’s police force. The project, which has been set up by Gurgaon police in collaboration with BSNL, is likely to be launched formally by November 1.

As per the new system, when a caller dials 100, his call will first go to the IVRS. Here, the caller will be asked to press 1 to speak with the operator. In case, someone had dialed 100 by mistake, they would have the choice to disconnect or the system will automatically reject the call if ‘1’ is not pressed.

The IVRS has unclogged the helpline making it easier for people to connect with operators, whose response has also improved significantly.

“Earlier, it took a lot of time to get through to the police, but now eight out of 10 calls reach the operators and we will ensure operators get 100% calls,” said Deepak Gahlawat, DCP, Headquarter, Gurgaon.

“The IVRS system has helped in reducing blank and missed calls by almost 80%. Currently, the trial is on and we will take feedback from the public. We will introduce more measures to improve the functioning of the police control room and make it more effective,” Gurgaon police commissioner Sandeep Khirwar said.

As per the data collected by the Gurgaon police, the PCR operators received an average 9,000 calls daily, before the IVRS system was installed. Of these, around 8,000 used to be fake/blank calls or were generated by mistake.

After the introduction of the IVRS, the average number of calls received daily by operators has come down to 900 as the entire set of blank calls has been eliminated.

“Blank calls were a major problem as people could not connect with the operators due to traffic. The IVRS system asks for human intervention and this is the reason that such calls don’t block the telephone lines anymore,” Gahlawat said.

PCR officials attributed the volume of blank calls to touchscreen phones, which most people have these days. “People would make inadvertent calls… Sometimes children would pull pranks or call by mistake. There were also instances when the automatic emergency call option would be activated. All this happened by mistake but affected our entire communication network,” Gahlawat said.

The city PCR has 32 staffers who keep the helpline functional 24 hours, throughout the year. The officials manning the control room work in three shifts and get a weekly rest day. The team also includes women officials.

First Published: Oct 23, 2017 23:57 IST