Home Minister inaugurated the Police SMS Messaging Centre

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Thiruvananthapuram: Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Thursday said mobile telephone users in the State could seek police help even while travelling by sending distress messages as an SMS to the telephone number 9497900000.

Inaugurating the Police SMS Messaging Centre here, Mr. Kodiyeri said the facility would benefit travellers who were not aware of the telephone numbers of local police stations or law enforcers.He asked police control room officials not to greet informants and distress callers with a barrage of prying questions about their identity, location and motives.

“Complainants have the right to know what action has been taken on their petition. Passport application verification process should be fast and transparent,” he said. He said the neighbourhood watch scheme would be extended to 100 more police stations.Inspector-General of Police Tomin J. Thachankery said citizens should not use the facility for raising complaints about civic issues, such as lack of drinking water, power outages and so on.“The service is chiefly intended to benefit those facing an immediate threat to their life or property. Citizens witnessing road accidents, crime, hit-and-run accidents, anti-social and terror-related activities, suspiciously abandoned bags and other containers can alert the police by sending a text message to the number.”Voice calls to the number are banned. Mischief-makers and scaremongers who use the facility to relay false information will be prosecuted, he said.

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