Maharashtra to boost police control rooms

The Maharashtra government has finalised a Rs.400 crore project to modernize police control rooms across the state. The project aims at reducing the response time and modernizing the call-taking and dispatch mechanism for emergencies across the state.

The response time to an emergency that the government plans to achieve after the revamp will be 8 minutes in cities and 15-18 minutes in rural areas.

Senior home department officials said that the government is looking at upgrading the complaint-receiving mechanism in this revamp. Currently, when a person calls on the police helpline he/she has to give their detailed address, which can be time consuming. “We have proposed GPS-tagging of the calls made to the helpline so that emergency services can be rushed to the spot from where the call is received,“ said a senior official.

“Sometimes the control gets calls but those cannot be completed because of many reasons, in these cases too the location can be traced. We are also planning complaint facilities via text messages, emails and WhatsApp,“ said the official.

The upgrade of control rooms is part of the `dial 112' project. The state government will be shifting to 112 as a single number for all the emergencies by early next year. The aim is to streamline the emergency response process by merging all three into one. The move is part of the Union home ministry's efforts to have one central emergency number for the entire country , like 911 in the US.

The state government plans to install tracking system on emergency-response vehicles so can their movement can be monitored.

The government will be purchasing 1,048 four-wheelers for rural areas and 454 for urban areas, and 2,021 twowheelers for rural areas and 241 for cities and towns.

As for the control room, the state home department is considering three models for Maharashtra. Under the first model, there may be centralized call taking and despatch system. Under the second model, there may a centralized call receiving and decentralized dispatch system where calls will be forwarded to the local control room. In the third prototype, there will be decentralized call taking and response. The problem with the first model is that there are too many dialects in the state to be handled by personnel at just one centre. The call attendant must have a good idea of the caller's location as the person, being in an emergency, might not be in a situation to explain things lucidly .This is also more or less the problem with the second model. The third doesn't have this problem, but may be less efficient. “The tender will be finalized in a few months,“ said an official.

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