The cops are getting social...

Anjali Jhangiani
Sunday, 2 July 2017

 ...and how! Memes, tweets and light-hearted posts make the social media accounts of the police force both, interesting and impactful

 ...and how! Memes, tweets and light-hearted posts make the social media accounts of the police force both, interesting and impactful

When in Rome, do like the Romans. When the police departments of Pune and Mumbai introduced official accounts on social media platforms to connect with the citizens, they went by this old idiom. With dank memes, witty tweets and posts that really catch your attention, alert and warn you while entertaining you, the accounts are fun to follow. In fact, on Friday, Mumbai Police tweeted, ‘The only place we allow being followed (smiley face) #SocialMediaDay’. While it made you smirk with its intentional pun, it also warned you about stalking. 

A few days ago, when Pune Police announced the arrests of four notorious criminals by the Unit 4 Crime Branch, they posted a meme with  ‘Call of Duty’, the title of a popular video game, written on it. We chatted up Sunchika Pandey, from HAT Media, who is responsible for handling these accounts. 

Casual, but important
Talking about handling these handles, Pandey says, “The idea of creating any post for the police accounts is to ensure maximum engagement and connectivity with the citizens. It is important to use elements which are popular amongst the social media users as it not just grabs their attention but also has a good recall value. Special care is taken to ensure that no issue is trivialised in the process and the purpose of creating awareness is not diluted.”

Pandey adds that at HAT Media, there is a dedicated content writer and designer for the accounts. “We try to pick relevant and topical issues and convey them in a manner which strikes the best chord with the citizens and creates maximum awareness,” she says.

On behalf of the department
The responsibility of handling these accounts is huge because it represents the law enforcement agency. Hence, while making the posts casual and catchy, Pandey has to be cautious not to assuage issues that spring from a genuine concern for the citizens. She has to be on the same page as the department when she posts anything from their official account. Speaking about the process that leads up to the post by Pune Police’s Twitter handle, she says, “All the posts and campaigns are decided after thorough discussions and suggestions from Commissioner Rashmi Shukla and other senior officers like DCP Sudhir Hiremath.

There is also Pankaj Ghode who supports Pune City Police on their website and various cyber and safety campaigns. In Mumbai, as well as Thane City Police too, the commissioner, joint commissioners and DCPs are closely involved in planning and execution of posts on social media. Monitoring is done by their internal teams who have been trained for the same.””

Wider reach
According to statistics by FB, people spend about three hours of their time every day on the portal. In today’s day and age, the best way of getting in touch with people, specially youngsters, is through social media. 

“The idea of being on Twitter was to ensure that citizens have an additional medium to reach out to Pune City Police with their queries and grievances. Pune City Police would be happier if more and more people utilise the medium to reach out to us and the team will certainly provide the best support possible,” says Pandey.

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