Anyone that’s ever visited Delhi would probably be surprised to discover that it has traffic police at all. It does – a princely 5,000 to supervise the city’s 12-million-strong population – but they still need all the help they can get.
And, unexpectedly, Facebook has become a weapon in the fight against traffic violators.
The Delhi Traffic Police (DTP) started a Facebook page two months ago as a rather vague public relations exercise, with the idea that residents could perhaps suggest changes to the traffic regulations system.
Since then, though, the site has become a composite ‘wanted’ poster, with thousands of residents posting pictures of law-breakers.
It currently has over 18,000 friends, who between them have posted many thousands of photos and videos – and the local traffic police have used these as evidence to issue 665 tickets so far.
“Traffic police can’t be present everywhere, but rules are always being broken,” the city’s joint commissioner of traffic, Satyendra Garg, told the New York Times.
“If people want to report it, we welcome it. A violation is a violation.”
The site currently contains posts on everything from roadworks and slow-moving autorickshaws to ‘cheap behaviour’ and drivers wearing sunglasses. The DTP promises to respond to every one.
To an extent, though, the police are getting hoist by their own petard. One photo on the site shows a police officer on a motorbike without his helmet.
“Thanks, action will be taken,” the DTP responds. “30 police personnel have been prosecuted so far on the basis of pic uploaded on FB.”