According to legal analysts, the biggest barrier that keeps Indian Women from reporting Sexual assault cases is the fear of the ill-treatment they will have to face at the hands of the police. Well, I myself being an Indian Women, can somewhere second that thought.
Understanding this fear rooted deep inside the minds of our country’s women, Rajan Zaveri, a talented videographer, has helped produce an interactive online tool called – VirtualPolice.in or Virtual Police Station, that will help in lessening the fear and building their confidence back in the system.
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), in cooperation with the Rajasthan Police, has created the Virtual Police Station, a first of its kind tool built for police training and public education. This interactive multi-language program works both online and offline, and allows a user, be it a cadet in a police academy or a man, woman or child at home, to learn the duties, rights and responsibilities one should expect in a police station.
This Virtual Police Station makes use of 360 degrees video technology, which gives citizens a virtual tour of every corner of the insides of an average Indian police station. Combined with web architecture, videos, text boxes and vital legal resources, anyone can use this online tool to learn the laws and procedures relating to arrest, crimes against women, riot control, theft, and more. Users can also better understand the ranks, rooms and registers found in a police station, so that everyone gets on the same page to help create better policing across India.
According to Zaveri, the public perception about the Indian Police system is really bad. The situation is so bad that if anything does go wrong in the country, going to the police station is the last thing that the citizens want to do.
In such a situation, the device can prove to be a great tool for both, the police and the Indian Citizens. It might be successful in getting the citizens currently wobbly confidence back in the Police System of the Country.
The tool works in a very simple way. At the click of the button, you are inside the police station. It helps you by showing how the police must and must not behave with you when you go to file a complaint in the station. The tool also gives information about what the legal rights of the complainant’s are, including the right to demand the presence of a female officer. There are different scenarios depicted in the video to give a practical example of the same to the tool’s users.
According to Vivek Trivedi, communication officer at CHRI, their main aim behind this tool is to transform India’s police “from a police force to a police service.”
From men and women complainants to community workers and law schools, the video tool can be used by anyone.
“We hope this video tool will de-mystify the police station and make it a less forbidding place when you need it most,” said Maja Daruwala, Director, CHRI.
The CHRI plans to make the tool also available as a mobile application in the next phase.