[Photo Source: Twitter/MumbaiPolice]
Mumbai Police are #winning the hearts and retweets of their 36,000 Twitter followers with witty updates about how to stay safe online and on the streets.
The Mumbai Police officially launched their Twitter account at the end of December in an attempt to better connect with the public, allowing users to tweet in complaints and concerns.
The Twitter feed, which now includes just under 1,400 tweets in both English and Hindi, is a collection of updates from police activities such as their participation in the recent Republic Day parade as well as public awareness campaigns about respecting women, traffic safety, and more.
For #CyberSafetyWeek, Mumbai Police had users tickled with their tweets and images warning against online fraud, identity theft, and the risk of meeting strangers online.
While many of the tweets are a fun take on important facts, Mumbai police have also used the social media account to update the public on important topics such as concerns about terror threats on local trains. <a
The team behind the account is, reportedly, at least six individuals including four professionals from the private digital media agency Trivone, former crime journalist Sunchika Pandey, and Mumbai police commissioner Ahmad Javed.
“The police is often seen as rough and tough, but Mumbai city has a sense of humour, and the [police commissioner] was always open to adding humour to the tweets,” Pandey told Scroll.in, adding that it originally took a lot of convincing to get a Twitter account approved but that in Mumbai it is an effective and important tool for communicating with the urban population.
According to Scroll.in, Javed, who became police commissioner in September, is not only open to humor but is often the source of the pun-filled updates. Though he has his own professional account (@CPMumbaiPolice), Javed’s tweets are frequently retweeted and featured on the Mumbai Police account.
On January 27, Mumbai Police held their second one-hour Twitter chat with the commissioner, allowing users to tweet questions and concerns – including inquiries about the controversial National Spot Exchange Limited (NSEL) case – directly to the police.
“Since day one, the idea has been to ensure speedy, transparent and positive interaction with the people,” Javed told The Hindu.
Though the Mumbai Police department may be getting the most attention for their Twitter account, they are not the first major Indian city to bring cops to cyberspace. According to Twitter India, the Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Delhi Police all have active accounts as well. As of January 23, the Kolkata Police have also joined the Twitterverse.
Going forward, the Mumbai Police hope to build on their success.
“We will soon be setting up a separate handle for the Traffic Police,” Javed told The Hindu. “We want more officers on Twitter, and also, all officers of Additional CP rank and above should be on Twitter so that people can contact them.”