Karnataka

QR codes ensure policemen remain on the beat

: In what is a probably a first in the State, Bidar Police will start using a mobile app to help constables conduct their night beats efficiently.

Subhahu, the Android application developed by a team of young IT engineers in Bengaluru, will help police personnel complete their night beat rounds on time, not miss a street or house, and react to emergencies immediately. The electronic beat system (e-beat) is likely to become operational in a month.

The application can be loaded on to the smartphones of constables and officers, or a specially designed tablet can be used for the purpose.

A map of the city, with details of the beats and the officers responsible for them, is embedded in the system. When connected to a server in the district police office, it directs the constable to move from house A to house B, and they get alerts if they miss houses or streets.

Fail-safe techniques

The system works online and real-time data is fed into the server. Supervising officers can access it while the beat is on, and afterward as well. Any delays in completing the beat will be notified to the Superintendent of Police (SP) and other officers.

Houses and streets will be affixed with quick response code tags. Constables can go around scanning them. The codes contain the address and other details of the house or shop owner. The app adds the global positioning system (GPS) and time stamps on the data sheet prepared at the end of the beat.

There are some fail-safe techniques built into the app to stop personnel from misusing it. For example, no officer can collect the tags from all homes and scan them at his office or home without going out on the beat. That will be detected immediately as the address and GPS tags will not match.

“We will introduce the system in Bidar city first, and then move to other towns and villages in the next phases,” said Superintendent of Police (SP) Prakash Nikam. “It has advantages over the earlier e-beat system.”

The older e-beat system uses steel sensors that can be damaged by rain. Some were stolen, and some stopped working due to the lack of maintenance. The new QR code tags are printed on waterproof paper. “They will not go away easily. What is more, after a few beats, there would no need for the code tag. The app will pick up GPS locations by itself when the constable walks in front of the house, with or without the tag,” the SP said.

Dynamic and cost-effective

The tool is dynamic and we can change it to suit local needs, said Mr. Nikam, a computer science engineer by training. “We already have a fixed list of houses and streets for carrying out the night beats. We can add some more houses when their owners go on vacations, leaving them locked for a few days. We will subscribe to the app and see if it serves our purpose. If it helps us, we will increase its usage,” he added.

“We will organise a training session on using the system for our personnel. We will also collect feedback from staff on how it can be further improved,” said S. Hari Babu, Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP).

The tags are cost effective and 20,000 houses in the city can be tagged for under Rs. 1 lakh, according to initial estimates.


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Printable version | May 22, 2022 5:44:22 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/QR-codes-ensure-policemen-remain-on-the-beat/article17005079.ece