October 20, 2018

Police allowed to gather personal information of crank callers

News Source: Dawn

Writer: Imran Ayub

KARACHI: Federal authorities have allowed the Sindh police to collect data of crank callers from respective cellular companies and Nadra, and proceed accordingly so that such callers can be identified and taken to task.

Officials said on Wednesday that the Sindh police had requested the authorities concerned to give the force access to the information of callers who made crank calls to its helpline 15.

“The decision was taken after several meetings between the two sides as the Karachi police had come up with a plea that the crank calls not only cause nuisance but they also waste time and resources of the people handling operations.

“They deprive those who are in serious need of help,” the officials added.

“Every call is traced and every mobile number is recorded at the 15 centre. But we did not have the mechanism to go through personal information of crank callers with the help of their phone numbers and then arrest them.

“Therefore, we had requested the interior ministry to give us access to their personal data, like their complete names, gender and address. The ministry has now allowed us,” the officials further said.

The Karachi police had outsourced its Madadgar 15 helpline last year so that the complaints of the general public could receive timely response.

The step was also aimed at helping people to get in contact with the police through an ‘independent source’. The police believed the measure could help them overcome street crimes in the city and restore people’s confidence in them.

The move had come after several months of deliberations and process which invited bids from private companies — a plan that was felt to be in place after serious flaws had been found in the existing system.

“Even after outsourcing, dealing with the crank calls was a major challenge for the police as more than 90 per cent of the calls received at the centre were fake,” an official said.

“For instance, more than 3.5 million crank calls were received in 2015. Yet, no action was taken against such callers who wasted time, energy and money of the police in a city where combating crime and effective policing is a huge challenge,” he further said.

He hoped the situation would improve once the new arrangements are put in place.

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