Mumbai cops promise to reach women in distress in 7 minutes

Apr 14, 2016, 06:36 IST | Saurabh Vaktania

With a tap of the button, SOS messages will be sent to 10 on-duty policemen within a three-kilometre radius and the senior inspector of the nearest police station

Soon, women will be able to step out with greater confidence in the knowledge that the police are just minutes away – seven minutes, to be precise. Mumbai Police is all set to launch a new safety app for women called Pratisaad (response), which they claim will ensure cops can reach a woman in distress in seven minutes or less.

Also Read: Travel safe with this new app

SOS messages
Illustration/Uday Mohite

The app, which is the brainchild of state DGP Pravin Dixit, will likely be launched on Monday. “We have implemented the app in some parts of Maharashtra and it is scheduled to be launched in Mumbai next week. Efforts are on to implement it in rest of the state as well,” he said.

Pratisaad is said to be better planned than the department’s earlier app, In Case of Emergency (ICE). The older app was launched in January 2013 after the Delhi gang rape in 2012 but it failed to catch on with the public because of several glitches.

The app is said to be so accurate, it will not only pinpoint the woman’s exact location but will also identify the shortest route the police can take to get there. Representation pic/Thinkstock

“The new app is very accurate and will give the exact location of the distressed woman and the shortest route to her. However, there are still some issues that need to be ironed out. If it works, this will be very helpful for women. But it should be maintained well, unlike the earlier ICE app, which had several problems like registration, technical issues, etc.”

The app will also have a much more sophisticated process. For instance, the older app would simply send the woman’s approximate location to the emergency contact numbers saved by her.

However, Pratisaad will not only find the accurate location of the woman but will also point out the shortest route there. This information will be sent directly to the police (See box).

Women will first have to download the app and register. Each account will be verified by the police and the user will have to keep their phone GPS switched on while using the app. Thereafter, the process is pretty similar to that used in taxi apps.

“A woman in distress can click on the emergency icon in the app and cops will reach her in less than seven minutes. At least ten police officials from the local police station will be notified of her distress call,” said a senior crime branch officer.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Atulchandra Kulkarni said, “Currently, the process of data feeding is going on, which will get over in a couple of days. Hopefully, by next week, the app will be launched and women can use it.”

How it will work
>> When in distress, click on the emergency icon in the app
>> A message will be sent to at least ten police officials from the local police station in a 3 km range, including the senior police inspector
>> Another message will go to the police control room
>> The app will identify the woman’s exact location and the shortest route there
>> Any available officers will accept the request and reach out to the woman
>> All movements of the cops will be tracked by the control room and the woman will get updates of the same

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