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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

WhatsApp to rescue: Pune police register sexual harassment cases based on text complaints

The number receives several traffic and sexual harassment complaints, enquiries and help requests.

pune Updated: Aug 29, 2018 14:39 IST
Shalaka Shinde
Shalaka Shinde
Hindustan Times, Pune
The WhatApp number of Pune police has received 468 complaints in the past twenty days.
The WhatApp number of Pune police has received 468 complaints in the past twenty days. (HT PHOTO )

The WhatsApp number of the Pune police commissioner’s office has received 468 complaints in the past twenty days. Not only has it brought to the limelight traffic issues that the city faces, but has also led to five cases of sexual harassment being filed.

“We have received complaints from various people. Five cases under Section 354 or Section 509 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) were registered in two police stations - four in Bund Garden and one in Chaturshringi police station,” said Deepak Herambe, assistant commissioner of police, control room.

The police are doing background checks of twenty other men in similar cases. “Sometimes we get calls form landline numbers. So we have to verify the source of the phone calls closely,” said Herambe.

On August 7, within days of taking over as the police commissioner, K Venkatesham had urged people to send their complaints through a WhatsApp number: 8975 283 100. From the very next day, residents started sending their complaints to the police chief through the WhatsApp number.

A team of three police officials work in each of the three shifts (morning, afternoon and night) to keep a close track of the complaints received through WhatsApp. The police verify the source of the text messages before they become complaints.

“A daily report on WhatsApp complaints reaches the table of the police commissioner. He looks at the cases and decides on the best possible action. The complaints get discussed in the weekly review meeting (which happens on Tuesdays),” ACP Herambe said. Out of 468 complaints, the highest number of complaints were about the traffic congestions in the city.

When asked about the places from where the highest number of traffic complaints came from, ACP Hermabe said, “We are still compiling the data. According to a rough estimate, there are complaints about Warje bridge, the stretch between Bhairoba Nala and Hadapsar, stretch between University road and Shivajinagar and on Ahmednagar road.”

Besides traffic and sexual harassment complaints, the WhatsApp number also gets enquiries and requests of help from individuals.

A total of 61 complaints against noise pollution were also recorded.

The Twitter handle of the city police and the police chief along with the WhatsApp number have become a direct communication channel between the police and the residents of Pune.

First Published: Aug 29, 2018 14:38 IST