Mumbai police changing minds with a dope new...
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Jan 28, 2016  |  Vote 0    0

Mumbai police changing minds with a dope new twitter campaign

A pun-filled anti-drug campaign is helping India forget those other times the Mumbai police have trended on Twitter

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Mumbai police are on a roll.

In the month since they debuted on Twitter, the police and its chief of police have been firing up a storm of pun-filled, witty warnings on abiding traffic rules, on women’s safety and even on how to be safe online.

And on Wednesday, the police service’s new anti-drug campaign went viral in a string of word play.

“If you roll, we will weed you out,” read one @CPMumbaiPolice tweet that was retweeted thousands of times. Then came: “Be a hero without ‘heroin.’” A couple of hours later there was a cheeky question: “Hi! Have you ‘meth’ us?” with the hashtag #HoshMeinAao, which means wake up. One tweet had a picture of white powder on ground with the letters LSD and the message: “Let’s Stop Drugs.”

Giddy Twitter users in India gave a thumbs-up to the police service — a rarity in that country.

“Mumbai police account is giving Twitter standup comedians a good run for their money,” said one user. Another tweeted: “Ok, Mumbai Police just killed it. The rest of you, go home.”

#MumbaiPolice trended on Twitter in India all Wednesday.

The Twitter campaign was applauded not just for its clever use of words, but also for getting an important message across without being preachy or pedantic.

In a TV interview, police chief Ahmed Javed said the tweets were proof that all cops are “not square and flat-footed.”

Javed, who became the police chief in September, said he was always very keen on social media and had a team working on how to “convey the message and have an impact. Humour came in as we went along … and it has paid off.”

Earlier, tweets on a campaign on women’s safety won the two accounts hundreds of new followers. “Your creepy comments on her photo will get you a long date with us,” read one tweet from the chief warning against posting harassing comments online.

An early January tweet on traffic safety said: “Your fast can make us furious.”

The chief has more than 28,000 Twitter followers. The @MumbaiPolice account has almost 34,000.

Deputy police chief Dhananjay Kulkarni told the AFP news agency that the two accounts are being run by a content marketing and digital media agency.

“The tweets are approved by police first,” he said.

This humorous, furiously tweeting side of the police is new to the people of Mumbai.

In recent years, the city’s police has regularly trended on Twitter or made headlines for its heavy hand on morality issues, such as reportedly verbally and physically assaulting young couples for holding hands or kissing in public.

In one incident from August, people across the subcontinent were outraged to hear police had raided hotels and arrested more than 40 couples from their private rooms. The couples were reportedly taken to police stations where they were verbally assaulted and berated as “immoral.” Some, especially university students, were made to phone their parents. In the end, the police booked 14 couples for “indecent behaviour.”

Later, under heavy criticism over the incident, Mumbai’s then police chief ordered an investigation — eventually asking his officers to stick to the law and avoid “moral policing.”

Mumbai police haven’t entirely made up for its lack of humour in the past, but this Twitter campaign may be a step in the right direction.

Toronto Star

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