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'It's a Human Being in Khakee': Meet the Woman Behind Mumbai Police's Viral Social Media Posts

Image Credits: Twitter/@PoliceWaliPblic

Image Credits: Twitter/@PoliceWaliPblic

Sunchika Pandey thinks the perception of police officers being scary has been there for a long time and needed to change with time.

‘This is Arturo. Arturo thinks he is very smart. Arturo keeps 1234 as his PIN. Don’t be like Arturo.’ Sounds funny and relatable right? Yes, that’s how humorous and relatable the content of the Mumbai Police’s social media handles are. But when did cops start to have such a great sense of humour? According to Sunchika Pandey, the person behind the huge social media success of Mumbai police, officers in the department are very aware and actively take part in the daily functionalities.

Pandey runs HAT Media, an agency that handles social media for the Mumbai police as well as other law enforcement bodies such as the BMC. A former crime journalist, she, along with her team of creatives, has created a niche that no one had imagined. She can be credited with making cops less scary and more fun.

According to Pandey, however, the police department is more than indulgent. “The police department has been a very active part of content creation in terms of writing as well as ideation sometimes. They actively take part in setting protocols, in terms of deciding the tone of conversations. They are the spine of this system,” she says.

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Over the past few years, be it specific campaigns or addressing daily queries, Mumbai police’s Twitter account has put a creative spin on problem-solving in a way that has made it very popular. This is something that no police department has previously managed to do in India, thanks to the widespread stereotypes about cops. Pandey thinks that the perception of police officers being scary was getting old and that now it was time to change.

“There was always this perception that since it’s a law-enforcing body, cops will scream and they will shout. They look like very strict people who only want rules to be followed. I think this is a perception that needed to change," Pandey says. “Maybe in 2014, it was not such a possible scenario, but now everyone knows that it is a human being in that khakee and they are also a person like you and I are," she adds.

Mumbai police’s content has been a huge hit among the youth. From Taylor Swift and John Legend to ‘Money Heist’ and ‘Peaky Blinders’, they often use TV shows, music and cinema in their creatives, something that is very relatable to the youth. Pandey, who is popularly known as ‘Twitter Madam’, says that the police department is always very keen on encouraging the youth and wants them to understand the significance of a law enforcement body and why it is important to follow rules because they are the future. “I think raising awareness is their primary focus so they wanted a medium that reaches the maximum number of people. If we’re making content, it has to be relatable to youth. Therefore, they have always agreed to indulge in topics that are related to music, literature or any form of art and current affairs as well. Since the attention span is so little now, if something has just happened and you see content made out of it, you will definitely remember it. So we like to be very updated and topical," Pandey feels.

“The fresh batch of DCPs and IPS officers are young, so they also love watching Netflix and take a keen interest in social media. They always send us trends if they notice something. Sometimes they even share content shared by any other police department. So they also keep track of what is happening with their counterparts,” she adds.

According to Pandey, people do not understand that the police department is not just there to catch thieves but has an active role to play in our day-to-day lives. “A lot of times, the department goes out of its way to help others. Like if they go by their KRA (Key Responsibility Area), which we call in the corporate world, they do not need to make somebody cross the road or deliver cakes to anybody," Pandey quips. “They are a very driven department, playing a very crucial role in our daily lives. We should understand and appreciate it and should be aware enough to be able to seek help from them".

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first published:May 28, 2021, 08:10 IST