Unhappy with the limited popularity of a mobile app for women’s safety, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba has directed Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik to explore the possibility of reducing the number of apps for women’s safety. The directive, which states that police should start exploring the possibility of reducing the number of helplines and apps, was issued months after a parliamentary panel observed that the app had failed to serve its purpose as the number of downloads was very low.
Police had created a women-centric app, which was later relaunched as the Himmat app, with police claiming that it is meant to cater to women, senior citizens and minors. The app was first launched in 2015 by the then police chief Bhim Sain Bassi, and was relaunched this year in a bilingual format by Patnaik.
Sources said so far, about 50,000 people have downloaded the app and about 1.5 lakh people are using both the old app and Himmat app, police records show. “Every day, only about seven to eight people are using the app,” police sources added.
Gauba also directed Patnaik to first hire an independent agency and take feedback of citizens on the efficiency of these apps and other initiatives for safety of women. “Gauba has also directed to conduct an audit of the reaction time of PCR calls and asked them to show both reports — one from an independent agency and the other of Delhi Police,” a senior police officer said.
The initiatives include all women patrol van, and ‘shishtachar’ programme of Delhi Police apart from the ‘Himmat’ app.
Recently, Patnaik had asked all his subordinates to download Himmat Plus with the intention of increasing the number of downloads. “In the past, before registering on the app, users had to fill 13-14 fields and provide five emergency contact numbers. Now, these fields have been reduced to six, and users have the option to choose between Hindi and English,” an officer said.