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Police use tech to monitor Indian festival

For this year’s Ganesh Chaturthi, the Andhra Pradesh police force deployed technology to make approval processes easier for organisers and to ensure that the festivities were conducted peacefully.

Authorities used blockchain technology to monitor celebrations across the state. News reports said that this helped them keep tabs on every pandal (a temporary structure put up during religious festivals), idol, and ghat (steps leading down to a body of water) in the state.

Also, the state government developed an idol procession monitoring system (IPMS), a single-window system for all permissions related to the festival. Organisers would upload the required documents to the website without having to get physical approvals from various departments. The applications were processed online for approval. After verification, the applicants received a unique QR code.

The IMPS was provided to all officers on duty around the pandals. The officers could scan the QR code to check for any irregularities and provide feedback on the app if they found any deviations. Once the QR code was scanned, the officer could access all data related to the organiser and the pandal.

Authorities set up a dashboard in the control room of the director-general of police’s office. This allowed the director to access all the data related to the festivities across the state. The dashboard had data related to the number of applications received, number of applications rejected, pending applications, number of beat checks taking place every day, photos taken at the pandals and any irregularities observed at the pandals. The dashboard also included map view of all beat checks and immersion route of every idol across the state.

Although India’s police force is one of the most understaffed in the world, technology like blockchain, AI, and analytics has helped the government handle crime.

For instance, the Andhra Pradesh police force has created a real-time visitor monitoring system. It uses AI and blockchain and checks in real-time if a visitor’s name matches with any of the wanted criminals or history sheeters database.

The police force has also developed a Locked House Monitoring System, to prevent break-ins when people are not home. Using a motion detection camera, the system monitors a house and any intrusion detected is automatically sent an alert to the police control room by the system.

The Uttar Pradesh Police uses an AI-enabled app that digitises and searches records. It carries records of criminals, assisting police forces at ground zero with real-time information retrieval during investigations, regular checks, verifications, and at police checkpoints.

The app also has a ‘gang identification technology’, which helps the police to identify a criminal’s associates in different districts and part of the states. Similar technology is being used in Punjab, Rajasthan, and Uttarakhand.

Maharashtra has developed an Automated Multimodal Biometric Identification System (AMBIS). It is a digital database of fingerprints and photographs of criminals. With its automated matching capabilities, AMBIS eliminates the limitations of manual searches on biometric databases. This is one of the first systems in the country to implement integrated face enrolment and detection.

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