How WhatsApp aims to help fight corruption within police force

11 August 2014, 8:02 am EDT By Alexandra Burlacu Mobile & Apps

The chat application WhatsApp could help curb corruption in India, or at least it aims to make it easier to report authority figures who abuse their function.

If a police officer harasses you or asks for a bribe, for instance, you could do something about it if you have a device with WhatsApp on it. In addition to registering a complaint, you can also send a recorded audio or video file to the newly-launched helpline 9910641064 via WhatsApp. Three policemen faced legal action since Aug. 6 as part of this new effort to combat corruption.

"This helpline number is launched under the guidance of Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi to make the force corruption free," Additional Commissioner of Police (Vigilance) G.C. Dwivedi, who supervises the helpline operation, told the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS).

"Officers found guilty are booked under section 7 (public servant taking gratification other than legal remuneration in respect of an official act) and section 13 (criminal misconduct by a public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and other sections under the Indian Penal Code (IPC)," Dwivedi added.

The helpline launched by the Delhi Police's vigilance department will work 24/7 to help rid the force of corruption. When a citizen sends a video or an audio clip signaling an act of corruption, police officers take it very seriously. After informing a senior about the complaint, officers call the one who filed it and request more details regarding the issues. The video or audio clip will then undergo some tests at the forensic science laboratory in Rohini in order to determine its authenticity. If the complaint proves to be accurate, authorities will arrest the corrupt officers and suspend them immediately.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Police (Vigilance) Sindhu Pillai, the helpline has received no less than 43 complaints within the first three days of its launch.

"We got 14 calls on the first day (Aug 6), the following day we got two more complaints and 27 more were received Aug 8," Pillai revealed to IANS.

However, Pillai further detailed that only five of those 43 complaints proved to be genuine. The rest of the calls, meanwhile, were just blank ones, potentially due to lack of awareness behind citizens, or curiosity among those who have just heard of the service.

Lastly, it's also worth pointing out that the new helpline will work alongside the existing anti-corruption helpline (1064).

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