Mumbai Police's daily bulletin goes fully digital, to end 100-year print run

On June 1, the Mumbai police force will end a 100-year-old tradition of printing the daily notice; the switch to digitisation will save time and resources

The Mumbai Police is embracing the end of an era. On June 1, it will break away from a 100-year-old tradition — the first in the state to do so — with digitisation of its daily bulletin.

Selective reading: The online version of the daily bulletin will offer police personnel the choice to only select parts they are interested in. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar
Selective reading: The online version of the daily bulletin will offer police personnel the choice to only select parts they are interested in. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar

The bulletin will be hosted on a virtual private network platform and will be part of the criminal analysis information system, a special software program generated for the police department using JavaScript stored procedures with Oracle database. The move is part of a larger ambitious project of the state government to digitise the police force, Commissioner of Police Dattatray Padsalgikar told mid-day in an exclusive chat on Friday. "We have already got a network in place for high-speed connectivity with all branches of the Mumbai Police, including elite forces and special branches."

300 copies
The daily bulletin is to every police personnel what the morning cuppa is to a caffeine junkie: one just cannot start the day without it. It lists orders and special instructions, including details on transfers, achievements, rewards and good detections. The bulletin can run anywhere from 40 pages to almost 100 pages on special days. "Around 300 sets of the bulletins are circulated on special vans early morning to all 93 police stations, side branches, special units, and all senior police officers," said Padsalgikar. The circulation is a mammoth task, consuming much time, paper and manpower.

The big picture: Commissioner of Police Dattatray Padsalgikar says the move is a small step towards turning the entire operations paperless
The big picture: Commissioner of Police Dattatray Padsalgikar says the move is a small step towards turning the entire operations paperless

Not just the notice
Under the new set-up, the bulletin will be uploaded every midnight, said the top cop. "All police units have been informed about it." The switch has sent a ripple of excitement in the police force. "On Wednesday, I visited the Saki Naka police station, and the head constable there was eager to know if the new online system will also have the facility to upload local region-wise inter-departmental communication. When I told him it does, he was too excited. The new system will help him save time and effort spent on visiting the office of the additional commissioner or the zonal DCP or ACP. Besides orders and messages can be passed between superiors and their subordinates quickly."

The move is a baby step towards the big picture — turning the entire operations paperless. "We also have plans to set up digital kiosks at all police stations so that intranet facility will be available at every police personnel's fingertips," said Padsalgikar. Digitisation will help bridge the gap between the public and the police and offer prompt and quality service, he said. "We have to keep up with the changing trends in society."

Getting used to it
To brace for teething troubles while all police personnel get used to the new online system, a set of bulletins will also be emailed in the PDF format to all the police officials whose email addresses have been stored in the official database, said a police officer working on the project.

Going digital
> Each police official, of and above the rank of inspector, will be given a user ID and password to access the bulletin.

> All 12 police zones have been assigned a police constable trained to operate a computer, who will, in turn, train other police personnel at the station in using the criminal analysis information system program.

> The daily bulletin will be uploaded via this program, and it can be saved locally.

> The system also offers the option of filters, allowing a personnel to select a particular segment within the bulletin that s/he wishes to read, rather than going through all the pages. Servers of 10 GB have been procured to store the mammoth

> Assistant Inspector Pramod Sawant and his team from the computer cell of the Mumbai Police will provide the software and hardware support for the entire department, while the responsibility of uploading the content online will rest with Inspector Subhash Dagadkhair and team from the police notice department.

Anatomy of a bulletin

A police bulletin is divided into four sections. Part 1 carries special messages from the police commissioner, station-wise list of missing persons, proclaimed offenders and missing vehicles. Part 2 lists law and order issues, station-wise bandobast duty, sessions court cases and station-wise duties.

The third section has administration-related details — transfers, promotions, leaves, rewards, and night patrols of zonal DCPs of police stations. Part 4 contains sports update, listing the participation and achievements of police teams in different competitions.

While the cover page sports the police logo and the date of issue, along with serial number, its reverse has the police mission statement, written in Marathi and English. The last printed issue on May 31 will carry a special message from the commissioner of police and touch upon the history of the bulletin.

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