On August 6, the Delhi Police Vigilance Branch had launched an anti-corruption WhatsApp helpline number in a bid to nab dishonest officials. Within a week, the initiative has helped expose five unethical police officers indulging in bribery. Also Read - How to temporarily deactivate/permanently delete WhatsApp account
Two videos and three audio clips, showing police officers demanding and accepting bribes, were received on the department’s official mobile number 9910641064. Also Read - WhatsApp COVID-19 relief efforts: How you can get resources during the pandemic
Delhi Police confirmed that the first complaint was received in the form of a video clipping of an ASI taking money from the complainant in lieu of police verification at Himmat Garh Police Post. Also Read - Good news! Jio users can now check COVID-19 vaccine slots on WhatsApp - here's how
“On August 8, the complainant gave a written complaint to the Vigilance Branch in the matter. As per the complaint, ASI Tuki Singh from Hauz Qazi police station, Himmat Garh police post, took Rs 400 from the complainant. He (the complainant) recorded the conversation of ASI Singh on his mobile phone while he was accepting bribe from him. An FIR has been registered with the Vigilance Branch and the matter is under investigation,” a senior police officer told PTI.
Another complaint consisted of six audio clippings in which police personnel posted at the Ranjeet Nagar police station were heard demanding bribes from the complainant for allowing him to run his shop in the main market of the area.
“The response so far has been encouraging. People can do a sort of sting operation and sent the audio or video clip on this number via WhatsApp,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Vigilance) Sindhu Pillai. The new helpline is the brainchild of Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi who wants the force to be corruption free.
Action has been initiated against these officials under the Prevention of Corruption (PoC) Act,1988. All the cops have been suspended till the end of investigation.
Since the launch, the helpline number received 3009 messages. Most of them were strange, irrelevant and often funny messages that had nothing to do with complaints about corruption in the city’s police force.
The Hindu reported that lighter things in life such as songs or poetry have also been sent to the helpline number. From transliterated Hindi and Urdu poetry to lyrics of popular Honey Singh numbers, the helpline inbox is receiving all kinds of messages.
The Vigilance Branch has also set up an email ID i.e firstname.lastname@example.org dedicated for this purpose.
The WhatsApp helpline is in addition to the existing helpline numbers — 1064 and 1800111064 — which at present has four lines attended by at least 20 constables and head constables who work round the clock under the guidance of an inspector.
Many other online-based initiatives have also been launched by the police this year to ease various issues. Kochi police had launched an initiative that allowed citizens to report traffic violations by sending a message or image of the offending vehicle via WhatsApp. In May 2014, Delhi Traffic Police launched an Android app that provides traffic alerts, report vehicle theft and even find auto fares.
In February 2014, Delhi Police had also announced that it would allow people in Delhi to file a FIR online. Hyderabad Police and Bangalore police has also been taking action based on complaints posted on their Facebook page.