With an integrated helpline number, Punjab Govt. provides security with dignity
With an aim to solve grievances in a time bound manner Punjab Deputy Chief minister Sukhbir Badal launched the ‘181’ police helpline number in August of 2013. The multimode helpline number for woman, children, senior citizens and NRIs is the first of its kind in the country.
The SAD-BJP government took this initiative to make the police force accountable to the people. Any of the complaints would not be taken lightly as was said by the Deputy CM. The government has even made it certain that no complaint would be shut down until the complainant was satisfied.
When a caller dials 181 he is attended by a call counsellor who takes all relevant details. Further a case number is generated and sent via SMS. The cases that require counselling are attended by a clinical psychologist. The case coordinator follows up the case regularly till it is closed by the police of the district concerned.
The citizens can register complaint about drug abuse, anti-social elements or any problem. The calls are outsourced to a private firm Ziqitza to maintain total professionalism. Ziqitza is the same company that operated the 108 ambulance help line and hence did not have any trouble in setting up the 181 helpline number. 20 seat call centre have been set up that have been dedicatedly running to help the people in the state. Offering help through SMS, call, fax, email and web portal people can avail the service 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
The helpline has further improved in its services through the constant support and feedback from the citizens of state. Since the launch of the helpline number in 2013 till november2015 the Punjab police received 9, 14,052 calls from children, women and NRIs. The reports have been about child labour, child marriage, drug abuse, peddling, police misconduct and other complaints. From the over 9 Lakh calls around 2 lakh were in the form of feedback.
From all the calls received 51% of the complaints were from women who wanted help in cases of domestic violence. There have been 7070 cases of dowry harassment, 1609 were of rape or rape attempt, 499 were of sexual violence and 17835 were domestic violence reports. 81% of the callers have reported satisfaction.
According to a Punjab government website the helpline has also proved help full in providing tips and to be accurate till November 2015, 6897 tips were received. These were related to drug abuse, prostitution and drug supply.
97% of the cases registered through the helpline were closed in the given time frame. In September 2013, when Badal analysed the helpline number service there were 1127 complaints against policemen. ADG was directed to investigate into the matter in a very fair manner.
NRIs can also contact officers of inspector rank and above at the NRI wing headquarters given on a few numbers. The 181 helpline number has been a great advance step by the government of Punjab. It has helped the police in getting their hands at various drug busts and has also increased the trust of the people on the police with time bound help for their grievances.