Bengaluru: The police in India have always been stereotyped as beer-bellied, paan-eating, corrupt men. To change the perception of the people and to appear more approachable, many of the states’ police force has opened in-house social media wings to take full advantage of modern technology and relate to the masses.
Many police departments have their own Twitter or Facebook pages where they post interesting memes, informative snippets, or even encourage the netizens to file complaints or reach out to them for help online.
Of all of them, we will take a look at the Bengaluru City Police (Twitter- @BlrCityPolice), who has started a trend and are now giving the ‘shady’ image of police all over the country, a run for their money. They post everything from memes to pop-culture references and jokes which also spread awareness regarding issues such as drunk driving, road safety, online fraud, etc. These tech-savvy cops are now winning the hearts of the citizens as well as the netizens.
Prior to this approach, the Bengaluru police would tweet about the criminals that they had captured, but no one would be interested in such content. Hence, they brought a ‘memeful’ spin to their content. Acknowledging that this was a great responsibility, the memes had to be vetted by Nagendra Kumar, DCP of the command centre.
Speaking to Newskarnataka.com, sources on conditions of anonymity said, “We began using memes and witty comments in order to reach the younger audience, whom we consider to be a majority in the city. Prior to creating and posting these memes, we do a lot of research on what the younger demographic is interested in and also about the latest in pop-culture. But, all of this, at the end of the day, is a way for us to bring awareness to the general population.”
He also stated that they have an in-house team of 12 officers and constables, who work round-the-clock to stay abreast with all the latest happenings. All of these officers have been trained in Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Pro.
When asked about the genesis of the move, he said, “In the beginning we did not have the infrastructure and trained personnel in place for this endeavour, so we brought in a group of trained professionals to help us. Crowd Kart, led by Chetan Hiremath and Dheeraj Gowda, spent a total of four weeks with us to set up a proper infrastructure and also trained our officers with the necessary skills to manage our own Twitter handle.”
The company got the job after the co-founders read articles by the then Bengaluru City Commissioner Praveen Sood in which he spoke about the direction in which the police will move forward and contacted him via their Facebook page to show them how lacklustre their presence was on it and how it was affecting their image to the public.
Prior to them approaching the police, the force used to send out tweets about criminals they had captured and so on but had noticed that this was not bringing them enough response from the public, so they took to the present approach of making memes to send across the message of awareness to the public. But for important notices and announcements to be made on the twitter handle, it would have to be vetted by Nagendra Kumar, DCP of the command centre.