Page 1

how can we bridge the gap between citizens and the local police in india?

project plus police & us

project plus police & us Project description & intervention possibilities to be presented to the

bureau of police research and development (bpr&d) Document created on

september 12th, 2013

akshan ish / Graphic Design shreya chakravarty / Graphic Design rupesh vyas / Project Mentor

the project project plus is a collaborative attempt by student designers Akshan Ish and Shreya Chakravarty, to understand the relationship between citizens and local police in India, and map intervention possibilities through design research to create a more transparent and citizen-friendly policing system. The project takes its brief from the Microsoft Research Design Expo 2013, which invites teams from various design schools across the world to collaborate and work on a theme – how data can be used to build a better community, world and life. The project is mentored by Rupesh Vyas, Senior Faculty, Graphic Design, National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.

contents 1 The Problem Statement 5 The Citizen & The Policeman 19 What Design Can Do 29 The Design Concept: PoliCiti 43 Phase 1: An Independent Application 47 Phase 2: A Layer On Top Of CCTNS 51 The Way Forward 55 Microsoft Research Design Expo, 2013 58 Acknowledgments

why are citizens apprehensive of approaching the local police in india?

project plus / 1

chapter 1

the problem statement

statistics from transparency international


87% 74% 47%

Initial research showed that most people are intimidated and unhappy with the unnerving and insensitive police service. Due to the inadequacy and general lack of interest to do their jobs properly, the police have earned a bad reputation among the common masses. people agree that there is corruption in the police force people think that the quality of service is inadequate people had to pay a bribe to get a f.i.r registered Citizens have lost faith in the policing system, and the policemen, given their own set of issues, only add to the mistrust in the common Indian citizen.

how can we instill trust among citizens for the police? how can we make citizen interaction with the police more friendly and transparent? how can we make the police more accountable to the citizens? how can we encourage the police to do their job more efficiently? how can we reduce the workload of the policemen? how can we create better services for the citizens?

project plus / 3

Qualitative surveys of citizens, personal interviews, visits to the police stations in Ahmedabad, literature study and interviews with officials in the BPR&D department, New Delhi gave us a macro level understanding of the basic functioning of the police, the problems faced by the citizens while interacting with the police, as well as the limitations and burden of the policemen. focus area How can we empower a citizen to register a complaint with the police without having to face the harassment and power-play of a policeman and allow him to feel that his need will be addressed to, in a just and timely manner? Further, how can we ensure that what is being offered to the citizen is correct, unbiased and validated? How can we reduce the burden of the policeman, give him the tools and motivate him to perform his duty with sensitivity and efficiency?

“i had to go to the police station three times before the cops were even ready to file the report. they kept discouraging me to do so & even intimidated me with the consequences of filing�

project plus / 5

chapter 2

the citizen & the policeman

the citizen Usually is in a hassled situation when he/ she approaches the police @!#

Has pre-conceived notions about the police and is unsure if the police will help or further add to the hassle Usually has to hop from one police station to another before being able to register his complaint (lack of information on police station jurisdictions) Has no information on law & criminal procedures (CRPC / IPC) Does not know the difference between cognizable and non-cognizable offenses Has to usually pay a bribe to get his complaint registered

“every person who approaches the police station is perceived as yet another problem�

project plus / 7

the policeman Performance is measured by crime rate in the area, so he refuses to register complaints Has to work multiple shifts in an inadequate environment with few resources and heavy work load Nature of job has averse affects on social relationships and family life Physical, mental, professional, emotional and recognitional needs are not met Can easily misuse the raw & given power of the police uniform Social status is equated to that of an unskilled worker, but has the power to arrest anybody Inadequately trained to handle complainants with sensitivity

Filing a complaint with the Police Grave Issues

Police is corrupt

Waste of time

Economic Offences Will not get help unless he has influence

Police will harass him

Petty Issues

Thefts, Forgery, Cheating

Loud music, Water leakage



Crime Document Verifications


Traffic Violations

NOTIONS Goes to the PS to report

Incident Type

Police S Occurance of an incident Doesn’t go to the PS


Calls 100



Settles matters on his own

Les ha

No Trust

Bad Image

Tries not to file to show decreased crime rate

Record Witness Statements Asks complainant to provide resources

Asks for money to register F.I.R

Visit Scene of Crime Investigate Crime Gather Evidence Catch Criminal


Is generally scared

Doesn’t want to get himself involved

Murder, Rape

Language Issues File a F.I.R

Cognizab Offense

Recover Property Manipulates details of recovery

File Chargesheet File an Application

Asks for money Language Issues

Non-Cogniz Offense


project plus / 9

Usually from a low income family Lack of adequate training




Political influence remains throughout career

Pays politician to get recruited


Performance Pressure Workload Affects social life

Police Station Constable

Regular Patrol

Inadequate Salary/Status

Work Conditions


Few Promotions Treated as unskilled labour

Hygiene Infrastructure Resources Funding

Lack of appreciation from seniors

Good works rarely gets due credit or is talked about

VIP duty

Duty at PS

Focus on keeping boss happy

Socio-Economic standards have risen

Show good results

Struggles to meet them

Less on manpower, has to multi-task

LISTEN to the complainant

Shoos Away Abuses Asks for Money

Increases/Decreases weightage of complaint depending on influence

ey I.R

CATEGORIZE/DECIDE type of offense based on IPC


ey es

Reflects on behaviour & attitude

Citizen knows nothing



o show e rate


Complainant = Problem


Power of the uniform can be used to exploit the citizen

Thankless Job

Cognizable Offense

Non-Cognizable Offense

VERIFY the complaint

Takes advantage of the fact that the citizen is unaware

This process map of filing a complaint with the police visualizes the problems faced by the citizen while approaching the police, the pressures and concerns of the policeman, and identifies the points at which various issues occur in the entire process.

scenario video To put our research in place, we created an animated scenario video where 24 year old Rajesh moves from Chennai to Delhi, looking for a new job, and his bag is stolen from his hotel. The scenario depicts his attempt to file a complaint in a police station, his encounter with a policeman who is already loaded with work and has many complainants to attend to. The objective is to highlight the various aspects of the current policing system that affect citizens, and need to be addressed. The video can be found on the enclosed CD named, Project Plus_Scenario.mp4

The video can also be accessed by scanning this QR code.

project plus / 11

With only 130 policemen per 1 lakh residents, it is extremely hard for the policing system to serve the country in a just and efficient manner.

It is important to understand the background and problems of both the citizens and the policemen on duty.

project plus / 13

Project Plus_Scenario.mp4

project plus / 15

The policeman has a lot of complainants to deal with, and he has his own issues that hinder his efficiency.

The citizen has preconceived notions about the police, and the interaction between the citizen and the police is imbalanced since both have different priorities.

project plus / 17

Project Plus_Scenario.mp4

Scan the QR code to watch the video online

instill trust through transparent, citizen-friendly & responsive services

project plus / 19

chapter 3

what design can do

design process ‘Design is what links creativity and innovation. It shapes ideas to become practical and attractive propositions for users or customers. Design may be described as creativity deployed to a specific end.’ - Sir George Cox

It had become quite clear that the only way trust could be instilled in the citizens for the police was by improving services that are offered to them. Therefore, we had to consider the problems faced by the policemen on duty and design a system that addresses those challenges as well, in order to improve services provided to the citizens. The following pages contain ideas & concepts that aim to provide an easier, more transparent and hassle-free complaint filing service to the citizens.

problem solution



No information available about police stations in the neighbourhood, which leads to a generalized image of the police instead of making each station accountable.

Jurisdictions of police stations are not clearly defined and are not available in public domain. Citizens are asked to report to other police stations on the pretext of the case not falling in their jurisdiction.

Application that returns details of Police Station by sending the Pin Code of the area, with stats/ records of the particular police station, its strength, police officer on duty at the current time and contact details.

A searchable map of the city that plots all the police stations and their jurisdiction clearly and uses GPS to locate where the incident occurred so there is no confusion about jurisdiction. This map could also display the crime rate of the area, type of crime, details of the police station, number of complaints, etc.

project plus / 21



80% citizens do not know the difference between a Cognizable offense and a Non-Cognizable offense. Policemen usually use this to their advantage to convert COs to NCOs so they do not have to file FIRs.

When an incident occurs, often the citizen has no idea as to what is to be done, who to tell, how to tell and is completely blindsided when he/she talks to the police.

An application that empowers the citizen by giving him/her the knowledge of CO/NCO, and personalizes it by displaying whether the incident that the citizen wants to report is a CO or a NCO. This would make sure that the citizen does not get cheated at the police station and also gets the complaint registered fairly.

Application that guides the citizen with a simple Q & A format, and informs him/her about the nearest police station, gives information about legal procedures, and takes him through the entire process of filing a complaint, registering a case and gives periodical updates about the case.

problem solution



Migrant citizens and people who do not know local language find it difficult to get their complaints filed because the policemen use the local language and paperwork is all in the local language.

There is often a dis-balance in the interaction between citizens and policemen at the police station. There are innumerable cases in which statements are changed, modified and gravity of situation increased/decreased.

Design bilingual forms (English and local language) for accessibility.

A large surface for interaction at the police station where instead of sitting across each other, the citizen and policeman work together on the same side. This enables the citizen to see what the policeman is filing clearly and the surface can also be used to display maps, share evidence and bring up relevant information.

Use language translate in smart phones to convert statement and report from English to local language and vice versa.

project plus / 23



The police have more power and authority over the citizens which is required in times of law enforcement but for general purposes, this dis-balance makes it uncomfortable for citizens to approach the police.

The policeman has to record each individual statement and write it down, and maintain the case files. This also often leads to him changing the statement a little to make it a case or nullify the complaint.

Give details of the policeman to the citizens like the policeman’s hometown, experience in the field, specialization, etc. so that the citizens know who they are dealing with. This would also remind the citizens that policemen are humans too, and would enable a respectful conversation.

A kiosk that records the voice of the complainant as he/ she narrates the problem and transcribes it, which then gets automatically filed in the case files, and can be accessed digitally or printed out.

problem solution



Currently, as the police is a federal organization, different states are digitizing their records on their own. A lack of standards will make it harder to collate, access and compare fields later on, when required.

Motivation of policemen is extremely low. The constables who contribute to most of the workforce are not acknowledged. There is no platform for sharing good work done across the department either.

A nationalized standard has to be devised that is followed throughout to create a seamless transition from the analog to digital, and in order to take advantage of well maintained and linked national databases of crime, offenders, complaints, etc.

A rewarding system is put into place (acknowledgment/column in the newspaper) based on their work and feedback received from citizens who have interacted with the policemen. A platform could also be created where best practices are shared across the department, and stories of good work and citizen engagement are showcased.

project plus / 25



There is no platform to share experiences of people who have interacted with the police. Senior officers have no way of knowing how the police constables are interacting with citizens at the ground level.

A lot of times even after the filing of a FIR, citizens find it difficult to keep going to the police station to get updates on their case and often fall prey to corruption.

A feedback mechanism can be integrated, about the service received either at the police station or when the emergency number is dialed. Citizens can flag police stations or incidents where they were asked for a bribe, or were misbehaved with.

A case-tracking application that sends updates from the investigation officer every 24-48 hours to the complainant about the status of the case. This would reassure the citizen that his/ her case is being taken seriously apart from getting updates.

problem solution



In most of the states, the constable joins service after class 10. Apart from citizen-centric and gender sensitization courses being introduced, there is no material for reference that can be accessed easily.

Criminals are now equipped with the latest technology and the police is falling behind. Citizens expect immediate response and are tired of police inefficiency.

Legal procedures, charters, SOPs can all be simplified and presented in a manner that can be easily understood and implemented at the ground level. This could also be handy when the policemen want to refer to certain clauses/procedure or are unsure about how to handle a particular situation.

A smart-phone or device which can hold information on various laws, procedures, manuals and mandates would help the policeman through sticky situations. The device would also enable policemen on the move to receive photographs and evidence, and would be able to track incidents and crimes by GPS location.

project plus / 27


Most police stations are extremely dingy and depressing. One reason is the blue walls. The environment is such that policemen are demotivated, and citizens do not feel welcome to the police stations. Lots of space design opportunities here in terms of navigation, demarcation, systems to be put in place. We recommend painting the walls white or a shade of green to bring in optimism and positivity in the entire space.

project plus / 29

chapter 4

the design concept: policiti

the concept The proposed concept, PoliCiti, is a multiplatform application that empowers citizens with relevant and timely information and helps them navigate through the unsettling complaint filing process. It works at the individual and the community level. It makes the complaint filing process for individual citizens easier and transparent with the availability of GPS enabled jurisdiction maps, submission of photoevidence, identification of cognizable or noncognizable offenses, suggestion of sections of the IPC applicable, and a responsive feedback mechanism to the Police. This digitized process in turn reduces the redundant workload of the policeman and the need for maintaining and organizing a large number of case files and records.

In a broader context, PoliCiti aggregates individual responses, experiences, and perceptions to give a sense of the relationship between a community and the local police. Functioning of the police in particular areas, citizen feedback, measures of corruption and misconduct, and efficiency of police stations are made available to people to help them in making better informed decisions about their lives, and the police to help them improve their services and connect with local communities. concept video We created a video to explain the functioning of the concept by taking a case study of Neha, a 23 year old resident of Ahmedabad who has been a victim of bag snatching by bikers. The video demonstrates how she uses PoliCiti to successfully file her complaint, gets updates from the police, and is able to share her experiences. The concept video can be found on the enclosed CD named, PoliCiti_Concept.mp4 The video can also be accessed by scanning the QR code on the left.

Jurisdictions Corruption

Jurisdic tion

Crime Complaints Citizen reviews

Select ed Jurisdic tion

Polic e Statio n

PoliCiti Concept Information for Citizen / Reduce Workload of Policeman / Provide Feedback Mechanism

Citizen reports incident through his phone or a peripheral service such as an ATM/kiosk



Enters UID data for ID Reports Incident Can upload text, images, audio or video Location info mapped Option for emergency Complaint No. PS Jurisdiction CO/NCO IPC Section Next Step


Police Station Sy

A receipt is sent to the complainant and he/she is asked to head to the PS to give detailed statement Complaint No. Contact details of PS Assurance Note

Police Station


The citizen goes to the police station to get his statement recorded in detail/file a new complaint

The citizen and policeman sit down to record detailed statement and register the case or file an application

User is greeted by an interface which gives him details of the PS Crime Record Case History User Feedback

User gets to know details of policeman Credentials Previous Record Job Description User Feedback

PS recongnizes citizen Confirms identity Guides him/her to next step Issued Officer/Desk

Citizen Details with Police Complaint Information Detailed Questioning Statement Recorded CO/NCO decision

Case Registration


FIR Register

Case Diary

An FIR is registered if the complaint was about a CO, otherwise a NCO application has to be filed

Investigation pro starts with regu updates being s the complainan

Complaint No. Complaint Details Location FIR Details Assigned Investigation Officer

Complaint No. I.O. Details Daily Update fro


if the ut a CO be filed


project plus / 33 Input

Information for Citizen


Information for PS


Flow of Information

Station Register The primary information is sent to the PS in the jurisdiction and is stored in the database Complaint No. Complaint Details Location Complainant Details Keywords/Tagging

Police Station System

Crime Record

Senior Officers

Complaint and details are also sent to crime records, and are updated as the case progresses

Primary info of complaint, status and user feedback are sent to senior officers and logged

Complaint No. Investigation Details Updates till end of case

Complaint No. Investigation Details Updates till end of case User Feedback

Investigation Case Diary Investigation process starts with regular updates being sent to the complainant Complaint No. I.O. Details Daily Update from I.O.

Feedback/Updates The citizen can track his/her case and will get regular updates. They can give feedback about service Track Complaint Status Track Investigation Status Gives Feedback

Performance/Rewards Each policeman’s record is tracked and is rewarded or held accountable based on actions Police Station Reward Citizen prompted to acknowledge individual policeman


project plus / 35

project plus / 37



project plus / 39


project plus / 41

We realize that implementing a systemic intervention such as PoliCiti across a nation as diverse and socio-culturally complex as India, where the dynamics of the policing system are interwoven with the political and bureaucratic machinery is difficult to fathom. However, we are convinced that with adequate design research and smart application of technology, it is possible to bring transparency and accountability into the system—enabling citizens and the police to efficiently work together to curb crime in their local communities. PoliCiti is currently a concept meant to function as a user-friendly and intuitive interface between the users (citizens & police) and technology. In the following chapters, we lay down two possible scenarios with varying scope in which PoliCiti could be taken forward and discuss the technological feasibility, infrastructure requirements, scalability, user acceptance and sensitization of this design intervention.

project plus / 43

chapter 5

phase 1: an independent application This chapter outlines PoliCiti’s functionality and reach if it is to be an independent thirdparty application, available for citizens to download on to their smart-phones–without being able to communicate with any police systems or databases.

functionality Not being connected to any police database and systems would deprive the citizen of being able to communicate with the concerned police station through the application. However, the application would still be able to provide geographical locations of police stations and their jurisdictions (if this data is made open in the public domain). It would also be able to retrieve relevant information about any particular crime from the IPC / CrPC, giving the citizen sufficient knowledge to protect oneself from being misguided at the police station.

The application would also have the capability to guide citizens through the complaint filing process, although it will not be possible to file the actual complaint from within the application, view police station details or information about the policemen on duty. Most importantly, even as a stand alone application, it will give citizens the ability to share their experiences (both positive and negative) on social media and flag police stations where they were asked for a bribe, were misbehaved with, or where they had a pleasant experience while filing their complaint. Community perception and experience could then be visualized and put in the public domain, which would give citizens an evidence to ask for a better policing system. feasibility The technology required to create this application is age-old. GPS and connectivity with social media is already integrated into all smart phones. The application on its own has no other infrastructure requirements, and can be used uniformly across states.

project plus / 45

possible features

geo tagging of police stations

law & criminal procedure

crime mapping

sharing on social media

cognizable / non-cognizable offense

features not possible

f.i.r registration

maintenance of crime records & case files

police station details

case updates & tracking

project plus / 47

chapter 6

phase 2: a layer on top of cctns This chapter explores the possibility of using PoliCiti as an extension of the CCTNS (Crime & Criminal Tracking System) project. PoliCiti could serve as an interface between the users and the services provided by CCTNS, making use of its centralized database.

functionality PoliCiti could benefit both the citizens and the police, if it is integrated with the CCTNS by making it extremely easy to file complaints, access information at any time, organize and manage criminal records and case files, as well as give the police a macro level picture of crime in various parts of the city/state, and the efficiency with which police stations are functioning. When individual experiences and complaint information is aggregated, it could facilitate well informed decision making for police

officials, as well as citizens. Supervisory officers in the police will be able to find out how each police station is working, complaint logs will help in understanding the kind of crime that is prevalent in particular areas, and the number of cases that are successfully being handled by a station. They can also get direct feedback from the complainants, and find out how their cases were handled. It will give citizens the advantage of being able to register their complaints with the concerned police station without actually having to go there. They could also receive regular updates on their case. This would create a more efficient system that is easy to use and potentially eliminates any chance of intimidation or harassment. Crime can be reduced when communities regain their trust in the policing system and work inclusively with the police in tackling issues at the local level.

project plus / 49

feasibility In this case, PoliCiti can be used as an application both on smartphones as well as public kiosks, ATMs, etc. where it is accessible to wider audience. Data would have to be synchronized between PoliCiti and CCTNS to enable smooth operation. possible features

geo tagging of police stations

law & criminal procedure

cognizable / non-cognizable offense

crime mapping

sharing on social media

f.i.r registration

police station details

case updates & tracking

maintenance of crime records & case files

just action belief & trust truthful communication

meaningful dialogue Adaptation of Paul Hughes’ ABC of Communication model

project plus / 51

chapter 7

the way forward The focus of PoliCiti has been mainly on easing the complaint filing process for the citizens. The next step could be to study the needs of the policemen at work in further detail and extend the design solution to incorporate services that would help the policemen in their daily work. It is important that the police take ownership of this system, and the system be useful and intuitive enough for them to want to use it.

police dashboard One way to do this would be to design a dashboard for the policemen that allows them to track their day-to-day work like case logs, investigation time-line, criminal information, etc. as well as important personal information such as their health records, training schedules, leave records, family benefits, pension plans, etc.

access Citizens would access this system using their UID, and the police through their badge numbers. The interface and information presented would be different, depending on who logs into the system. For example, senior police officers would be able to see complaint logs from each of the police stations under their command, where as a police constable would only have access to the complaint log from his own station. police performance Since users have to provide authorization to use the system, cases can easily be assigned and subsequently tracked to the policemen working on them. Here, a rewarding and acknowledgment system could be devised based on citizen feedback and the outcome of the case. This would motivate policemen to handle cases that come to them efficiently and case based incentives could improve their performance. Since citizen feedback is also taken into account to measure performance, the policemen would have to be more sensitive and cooperative with the complainants who visit the police station.

project plus / 53

sensitization It would be necessary to introduce these design interventions in a manner so it is easy for the police to adopt to a new way of complaint filing, handling of cases and interaction with the citizens. Training and workshops could be required to sensitize the policemen towards technology. challenges Although the technology required for PoliCiti is fairly old, the issue of scale and implementation remains–which is why it is ideal that PoliCiti be implemented as a supplement to CCTNS. Digitization of old records and databases is an extremely cumbersome task, and the new records are being digitized without standard guidelines across different states, which will make it difficult to access information for future use.

project plus / 55

chapter 8

microsoft research design expo, 2013 This project was selected to represent the National Institute of Design at the Microsoft Research Design Expo, 2013 in Redmond, WA (USA). Following are some excerpts from the feedback we got and questions that were raised by imminent designers and technologists from across the globe. What is to prevent people from misusing the system, if they have a grudge against a particular police officer? The use of UID to authorize the complainant makes it easy to identify him/her and this would prevent people from misusing the system. Also, the situation between the policeman and the citizen is such that it is extremely important that higher police officials know what is happening at the ground level, and this can happen only when community perception is taken into account by the police.

Is this specifically a mobile application? This is an application designed for multiplatform usage such as public kiosks and information centers or it can even be integrated with ATMs. A mobile application would help in navigating the citizen through the entire process of filing a complaint and it becomes personalized when the citizens authenticate themselves using their UID. You considered the entire ecosystem, not pointing the finger at the police saying they are the ones to blame, which shows a maturity of thought and the solution is nonconfrontational and hence has a potential to succeed in the given conditions. This solution might be applicable in cities all over the world, given that people have no trust in their respective policing systems.

project plus / 57

acknowledgments Rupesh Vyas, Guide & Mentor research sources Dr. Ish Kumar, Director (Training), BPR&D Mr. Anshuman Yadav, DIG (NPM), BPR&D Mr. PS Bhushan, BPR&D Mr. Manoj Agarwal, IG (Int), Gujarat Police Hav Jagpal Singh, Delhi Police Arvindbhai, Constable , Navrangpura PS Constables & Officers, Gaekwad Haveli PS collaborators Jaimeen Desai, Animation Rahul Parsani & Stuti, App Mock-Up Sankeerth Reddy, Video Editing Mathias Rodriguez, Paharganj PS Photograph microsoft, india Nithin Ismail Justin George Nishita Gill

project plus / 59

microsoft, redmond Lili Cheng Surya Vanka Nathan Faculty Summit Team faculty, nid Prof. MP Ranjan Bhaskar Bhatt Praveen Nahar support & feedback Vallery Agarwal Roshini Pochont Bulbul Vyas Akshay Raju Sumeru Raut Saurabh Vyas Shashank Telgote Deepti Ahuja Shomini Ghosh Ray PGDPD 2011 Product Design PGDPD 2011 Graphic Design

package contents Letter from NID Project Document 1 CD with two videos and a soft copy of this document Project Plus Brochure

contact details Project Blog Rupesh Vyas, Senior Faculty, Graphic Design / +91 9825079824 Akshan Ish, Student, Graphic Design / +91 8469017051 Shreya Chakravarty, Student, Graphic Design / +91 9173791784

project plus police & us

Project Plus Proposal  

Project Plus (Police & Us) looks to examine why the relationship between citizens and the police is so grave, and maps intervention possibil...

Project Plus Proposal  

Project Plus (Police & Us) looks to examine why the relationship between citizens and the police is so grave, and maps intervention possibil...