Rising to the occasion in the time of the pandemic, the Greater Chennai Police have come up with a mass communication setup to reach out to maximum number of city residents through SMS to keep them informed during the ongoing lockdown.
“The SMS will have an audio link which will be in an officer’s voice or in an automated voice. People can choose to listen to the audio either in Tamil or English,” said Prem Anand Sinha, who was the Additional Commissioner (Chennai South) before being posted as Madurai City Police Commissioner only two days ago.
All COVID-related information, dos and don’ts, and clarifications on frequently asked questions about lockdown rules would be available as audio. “We have pushed such links about four times and more than 10 lakh people have used it,” said the officer. Those who have installed DigiCop application on their smartphone can listen to the messages from police, while the bulk messaging system is aimed at reaching out to those with basic phones.
The city police have also planned to use the set up to send out area-specific messages and also for internal communications as it is more effective. “Area-specific messages will help to bring down tension in a particular region if any law and order situation arises. Also, the message will be clear and can he heard any number of times. So, it can be used to alert police personnel as an alternative to the present microphone walkie-talkie system,” Sinha explained.
The city police had earlier collaborated with the same IT firm to send out messages to guest workers, who had registered to travel to their hometowns. “They could show the message to police personnel stopping them at checkpoints and only those with the messages were allowed to enter the railway station. It proved successful,” the officer added.