New Delhi: The next time your vehicle is towed away for being improperly parked, don't panic. Just send a message on the WhatsApp number of the Delhi traffic police and you'll get a contact number to find out the whereabouts of your vehicle.
This facility is available on WhatsApp number 8750871493, a helpline launched by the Delhi traffic police.
It's just not that. Apart from helping you locate your towed away vehicle, the number can also advise commuters on the route to take to quickly reach their destination.
"WhatsApp is our best channel so far to reach commuters. We have a Facebook account, a 1095 helpline number and a Twitter account, but among them all, WhatsApp has turned out to be our best medium to interact with commuters," Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Muktesh Chander told IANS.
The traffic police, which already has a strong social media presence with over 250,000 followers on its Facebook page, launched the WhatsApp helpline on October 16, 2014, to further connect with the citizens.
The idea was not only to connect with the people but to also involve them in resolving traffic-related problems.
Through WhatsApp, people were encouraged to send audio/visual complaints of traffic violations, unauthorised parking, faulty traffic signals and other such problems.
But after a few months, the traffic police found that many harried commuters were largely seeking help about their towed away vehicles.
Officials said the medium has become a quick and effective way to redress the concerns of distressed commuters.
Chander, while giving an example of the popularity of the WhatsApp medium, said police were able to identify a chain snatcher after receiving a video clipping of the
crime taking place.
"A youth was fleeing on his motorbike after snatching a chain from a woman. Someone made a video of the incident and sent it to us on our WhatsApp number. We were able to identify the snatcher and soon arrested him," Chander said.
He said commuters can also use the number to complain about overcharging, refusal or misbehaviour by auto or taxi drivers.
"A complaint can also be sent on this number. Rest assured, we will take speedy action on this," the police officer added.
"Anyone can send a photograph or short video clip with details like their name, place, date and time through the WhatsApp number after finding a faulty traffic signal or
about any other traffic-related issue," he said.
Chander said Delhi Police have been making concerted efforts to utilize the potential of WhatsApp to reach out to the citizens and also for effective communication among themselves.
An inspector and around 25 traffic police officers monitor the 24x7 helpline.
The WhatsApp number received 83,885 responses between October 17, 2014 and April 15, 2015, of which 7,681 were actionable complaints.