LAHORE: The Lahore police have launched a GPS-enabled android app to allow the public to report crimes in a quick and effective manner.
The initiative titled Rescue 15 Lahore allows the police to pinpoint the location of the complainant when a crime is reported, allowing the law enforcers to respond to emergencies swiftly. The app has three services – Rescue 15 emergency services, Anti-Terrorism Hotline and Police Complaint Cell.
A GPS-enabled cellphone is necessary for using the app, which requires the users to register it with the police. The registration is done against a user’s SIM with the person expected to provide their name, address, CNIC and mobile numbers. After registration, the users will receive a verification call from the Rescue 15 police unit to confirm if the profile has been registered and generated.
“This is the only GPS-enabled app in Lahore,” boasted Inspector Abid Rasheed, in-charge of the Ops Room – a newly established state-of-the-art command and control room.
Through this initiative, a user can report a crime with police over the telephone. They can also send a text message or take a photograph using the app.
The app also provides an SOS option, which features details of emergency situations such as accidents, bike snatchings, bike thefts, bomb blasts and firings. All a user needs to do is click the SOS button and a report will be sent to police, specifying the location of the crime and the nature of the emergency.
The app also has a status inquiry feature, through which users can inquire about the status of their complaints. The application works in several parts of Lahore.
Police have also warned against the misuse of the initiative.
DIG Operations Dr Haider Ashraf said the app was prepared by the Lahore police in collaboration with the Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB).
The initiative is part of PITB’s broader project to strengthen interaction between police and public and aims to get rid of the ‘thana culture’ through the use of technology.
A few months ago, the board had also launched an SMS and email complaint system, where a person could register his complaint by either sending an SMS to 8330 or an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The app is believed to be an attempt to improve the response of Rescue 15 police.
More often than not, a considerable amount of time is wasted by the police on tracing the exact location of a particular crime. At times, the complainant goes into a state of shock after an emergency and is unable to inform the police about his or her whereabouts.
Every complaint launched through this app shows the location of the victim and police can immediately reach the site with the help of GPS. The app also saves time for victims. Instead of dialling a number, a user can simply click an icon, wait for a response from an operator and provide details about his or her location and the nature of the emergency.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 26th, 2016.