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Kolkata Police launches whatsApp number for complaint registration

Kolkata, Jan 9 (IANS) With the sudden steep rise in the Covid cases in Kolkata and adjacent areas affecting not only the common people but a section of the police force too, the Kolkata Police have introduced WhatsApp numbers for all the police stations so that the people can register their complaints on the digital platform.

This will not only stop the people from crowding the police stations, but also help the administration to keep the spread of the virus under check. The decision has been taken after several policemen, including Commissioner of Kolkata Police Vineet Goyal and Commissioner of Bidhannagar Commissionerate Supratim Sarkar tested Covid positive.

In a high-level meeting, it was decided that the people won't have to come to the police station to register their complaints. Each of the 79 police stations under the Kolkata police jurisdiction has been provided with a smartphone with a dedicated number where local residents can lodge complaints and GDs by sending their complaints on WhatsApp. They can also send audio messages as evidence or to lodge a GD.

"The complainant will have to write the duly signed complaint on a plain sheet of paper and send it on the WhatsApp number. The complaint will be registered and a complaint number will be sent to the complainant within the due period and action will be initiated on the basis of the complaint. At present there are many police stations in Kolkata including Kalighat, Bhawanipur where the situation is such that it is very risky to allow people inside the police station. This process will help in avoiding spreading," a senior police officer said.

In addition, any photographs that will be used as evidence can also be forwarded on this number. All complaints sent over WhatsApp will be deemed as filed and the policemen will visit the scene of crime as required. In specific cases of distress or further query, even calls on these numbers will be allowed.

A total of 296 officials have been affected so far and many have been discharged from hospital. "This is one more initiative on our part to reduce physical contact," said a joint commissioner.

The policemen though reminded that the use of this number, in the beginning, will be limited to petty crimes. "For major crimes, our doors will always remain open for complainants," said an OC from north Kolkata. Primarily, it will be the duty officer who will receive the complaints on WhatsApp and then put-up entries. He will also inform senior officers on serious crimes. All the numbers will have the common 8100796 as the initial seven digits. The last three digits will denote the particular division and finally the particular police station.

Kolkata Police has announced a number of measures to cut down on physical interaction. Lalbazar has halted the breathalyzer test and asked traffic police personnel to fall back on citation cases in traffic rather than seizures. The brass has also asked the police personnel not to go out of the city for petty raids and ensure that there is social distancing inside lock-ups. The barracks have been divided to cut down on crowding.