‘Cops using analytics, tech to control crime’

TEAM SAKAL TIMES
Tuesday, 12 February 2019

We did a scientific analysis of crimes and then we decided our course of action. If a known criminal is involved we take preventive action, similarly we take decision whether we have to increase police patrolling in the area or take other steps to decrease the crime. —Dr K Venkatesham (Pune Police Commissioner)

PUNE: Use of analytics and technology is helping the city police get beneficial outcomes for their initiatives in crime control and prevention, traffic management, increasing public outreach, maintaining law and order and others. Just using basic Inter Active Voice Response System (IVRS) helped the city police reduce the per day calls to Pune Police Control Room from 26,000 to mere 1,500, which helped the police to respond to these calls in a better way. The initiative was implemented by Commissioner of Pune City Police K Venkatesham just after a month of taking over the post of city police chief. 

The commissioner, who visited Sakal Times office on Monday, was interacting with reporters on different issues on policing. Venkatesham said by using the footage from CCTV cameras present in the city, police officials were successful in penalising lakhs of traffic offenders on a daily basis, bringing about traffic discipline in the city. 

Use of WhatsApp groups like Buddy Cop, initiatives like Police Kaka, Service Excellence and Victim Assistance (SEVA) application  further helped the city police increase their public outreach.

“Just after taking charge of the city police we analysed that there is a need to bring in traffic discipline and the first thing we aimed at was bringing down the number of fatal accidents. We identified 100 black spots in the city and took help from the Pune Municipal Corporation to bring in changes at these spots. On one end we took enforcement initiatives and on the other some educational ones which helped reduce number of accidents by 40 per cent. The calls on the traffic control room reduced by 24 per cent,” added Venkatesham.

Speaking on crime prevention and control initiatives, the commissioner said police officials started analysing the area, time, location of crimes which helped the police plan a solution to control the crime. “We did a scientific analysis of crimes and then we decided our course of action. If a known criminal is involved we take preventive action, similarly we take decision whether we have to increase police patrolling in the area or take other steps to decrease the crime. After doing this at police station-level, we increased the responsibility of the police chowkis. The use of criminal intensive surveillance project helps in keeping track of criminals. This helped us in improving the image of police constables and people started thanking us for the same. In my thirty years of service I saw for the first time people calling up the control room and thanking us,”  added Venkatesham.

The commissioner said SEVA application helps police to work in an organised way. “Earlier, there was no standard operating procedure, but now we have one. We regularly monitor the action taken by police officials on a particular complaint,” added the commissioner. 

Speaking on smart policing and changes in police force, he said steps are being taken to improve the capability of work force and change the skills and attitude of police officials. “Workforce will always be a challenge for police, however we are not of the opinion to burden the tax payers. So we decided to improve our workforce. Our officials are undergoing courses on emotional intelligence. Maharashtra is the first state to have reservation for women workforce. We have various mental fitness programmes for the police. Use of M-Police application helps police officials handle their official work like applying for leaves, transfer and other issues,” added Venkatesham.

Speaking on challenges, he said there is a large amount of pendency of work which he has asked his officials to clear. “Similarly, cooperation is expected from NGOs, students and society to improve the city,” he said.

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