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News : Police Helpline Number Gets Jokes, Traffic Queries
Lucknow, India, Sept 8, 2015 -- 'Hello sir, I am a resident of Vibhuti Khand and would like to tell you that the body of a dog is lying in the middle of the road, please get it removed', wrote a woman on the WhatsApp helpline number of Lucknow police.
An Aishbagh resident used to send puzzles to the cops and was later blocked as he regularly asked the admin of the number to reply to him.
Hundreds of trash messages are received every day on WhatsApp number 9554401501, launched by Lucknow police to protect and provide assistance to people round the clock as part of the Citizen Police programme. It is flooded with jokes and greetings as citizens have added the number to various personal groups. The group administrator, a police constable, has to sort out messages of genuine problems from among these.
The average number of complaints received in a day has been reduced to 1 from 35 at the time of the launch.
Photographs of dead animals with people asking the cops to remove the body from the street are common. Recently, a man sought traffic information from the number.
Dhirendra Shukla, in charge of the surveillance cell, said, "Every morning, we receive hundreds of messages from people wishing us good morning. At times, people call up to confirm if the number actually exists. If used wisely, this system could be of great help as everybody owns a cellphone equipped with WhatsApp, and can reach the police with one message."
Members of the surveillance cell feel that the significance of the WhatsApp number should be publicized in the public domain before it becomes redundant.
SSP Rajesh Pandey said, "The system won't be discontinued, I would call my officer handling the number and plan to re-publicize it for better results."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Thursday, September 10, 2015