Thursday, April 15

‘Good morning’, ‘Have a nice day’ forwardsflood cops’ WhatsApp interactive groups

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Meaningless messages, images and GIF forwards on WhatsApp groups created by Bidhannagar Police as a mode of daily interaction between Salt Lake residents and local cops, senior police officers have started texting block representatives to ask group members to refrain from posting such forwards that ultimately override important messages.

Set up in September last year, after a meeting between Salt Lake block representatives and senior officers of Bidhannagar Commissionerate led by police commissioner LN Meena, cops had formed separate WhatsApp groups for 50 odd blocks in Salt Lake with the officer in charge of local police station, a sub-inspector and president, secretary, treasure, assistant secretaries and vice-presidents of the blocks as group admins. One member from each household in the block was added as a group member. Each group has anything between 150 and 250 odd members.

“The main idea behind the formation of the group was to disseminate information to general public as well as a channel where residents can directly speak of their grievances and report traffic-related issues or illegal activities in their area directly to cops. However, everyday the groups get flooded with random messages. At times, people stop checking the groups, which can ultimately lead to some important information among a cluster of forwards go missing. Hence we have asked the group members to refrain from sending forwards,” said a senior police officer.

A police officer, who is also an admin in one of the groups, said may people forward these messages to everyone in their contact list at one go. “Most of them do not realise that such messages are a nuisance and cause inconvenience to others,” he said.

Prodded by the cops, the group admins have started sending out messages stating: “This is to inform you that this group has been created to highlight any law-and-order problem in your neighbourhood. Request members to refrain from posting messages not relevant to the group.”

“The group has been extremely useful. Time and again, we point out problems related to traffic and other problems in blocks and lanes and cops do take action. The cops also inform any issue of importance via this group. But such has been the barrage of useless messages that several members I know have put this group on ‘mute’ mode, missing out important information. We have requested members to refrain from posting unrelated messages but they seldom listen,” said Basab Aich, the president of BE Block Residents’ Association.

 

Source: Times of India

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