The Delhi Traffic Police in India have launched a Facebook Page that is trying to help the city government better understand and address traffic problems, in part intended to help the city prepare for the Commonwealth Games in October. The Page has been active only a few days, already has about 2,500 fans, and seems to be seeing some meaningful early engagement.
We’ve written previously about the different ways Facebook can be used by police agencies in the U.S. to get tips, inform the public and create communication channels in general.
The Delhi Traffic Police Page administrator has been busy, not only posting sporadic traffic updates daily, but responding back to the many people posting questions and comments to the Wall, mostly in English but also in other languages. Aside from the info box, there’s really not a whole lot of information on the Page.
Yet, the people posting to the Wall seem to be pleased with the development, often using words like “great,” “good” and “thanks” in their responses. There are also a few photo albums containing photos of the police doing their jobs; these, too, have received numerous positive comments. As a matter of fact, these Facebook commenters were so enthused with the police’s Facebook presence after less than a week there are already several requests to create a Twitter account (it actually already has).
People have also positively responded to the Page as a forum for reaching out to government officials with concerns and suggestions, for example this comment, “Foot overbridge is badly needed at Savitri Nagar -outer ring road junction as it is just impossible to cross the main road.” There were others noting parking problems and issues with corrupt police, for example. All of these, again, mostly in English but in other languages as well.
Rajan Bhagat, a spokesman for the Delhi Police, told The Wall Street Journal:
“We have launched this page to know the views of the public and establish a flow of communication with the residents of Delhi. We need suggestions to improve. Every comment cannot be an appreciation, thus we are looking into the problems faced by the residents of Delhi and this is a new channel.”
As we reported in our story about police agencies, bigger cities tended to be less interactive on Facebook than smaller ones. The main problem has appeared to be that the Pages of big police entities were impersonal or too general. That Delhi Police are already engaging in actual conversations on the Wall in a city of 12 million-plus people diverges from this trend we saw with U.S. police agencies, and may well prove to set an example for how bigger police entities should manage their Facebook presence.