'CitizenCOP' app of Navi Mumbai police goes up in smoke

Cops say chances of nabbing those smoking in public places, despite receiving immediate complaints, are next to none as offenders are likely to move on by the time they reach the spot

While the Navi Mumbai police department recently launched a mobile application ‘citizen cop’ to help people register complaints instantly amid fanfare, loopholes have started to emerge in this app.

The CitizenCOP app allows users to report about people smoking in public places by clicking their pictures and forwarding them along with the location details
The CitizenCOP app allows users to report about people smoking in public places by clicking their pictures and forwarding them along with the location details

One of the unique features of the application is that it allows the user to report anyone smoking in public places by clicking pictures of the smoker(s) and forwarding it along with location details.

Screenshots highlighting the app and the option (circled) to report smokers
Screenshots highlighting the app and the option (circled) to report smokers

However, a few cops claimed it was practically impossible to trace and book offenders smoking in public places. They said that the chances of finding the offenders at the same spot from where the complaint was sent were next to none.

Doubtful efficacy
When informed about the unique option feature, Navi Mumbaikars expressed uncertainty over the detection rate.

“While it is good to have all emergency features at your fingertips, it is difficult to trace and impose a fine on smokers at public places. By the time a beat marshal arrives at the location, the offender must have moved on,” said Belapur resident Vijay Bhoir.

Another Belapur resident, requesting anonymity, said, “It sounds funny. How can one book a person for smoking? It seems practically impossible.”

Cop speak
ACP (Wireless dept) P P Kannalu said, “The application has an option that allows a user to report any incident around him, including smoking. For this, a user has to click a picture of the smoker and send it along with location details. Upon receiving the information, a beat marshal will call the complainant, reach the spot and impose a fine on the offender under the sections of the Bombay Police Act.”

Speaking to mid-day, Police commissioner (Navi Mumbai) Prabhat Ranjan said, “At times, it would become impossible to book an offender, as he may move on. However, we will at least come to know the areas were such incidents occur. Besides, the app is loaded with user-friendly features to ensure safety of our residents.”

The other options on the app include reporting a lost vehicle, emergency calls, municipal issues, harassment and corruption.

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