Punjab Police takes to social media to enforce ‘stay at home’ order

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on April 06, 2020

From leveraging the iconic Bhangra to propagate social distancing, getting a cop to sing in a Punjabi music video to raise awareness about Covid-19, Punjab Police is leaving no stone unturned to reach out to every citizen in a quirky and entertaining manner.

As the primary responsibility of enforcing the lockdown in the region lies with the State’s police force, social and digital platforms such as TikTok, Sharechat , Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter have become its primary tools to disseminate information.

Sample this: “Sangrur!! Social Distancing Te Stay at Home Follow Karo Zaroor (Sangrur!! Follow Social Distancing and Stay at Home) reads one social media post. “Hoshiarpur!!!..Hoshiar Raho Ghar Vich Raho, reads another post (Hoshiarpur !! Be vigilant and stay at home). Similarly, the State police’s TikTok account, showcases content which includes humorous animation videos, to sensitise and inform about various issues such as how to spend time productively while staying at home, or norms to get an e-pass, the need for social distancing and information about relief measures among others.

To inform and entertain

Naresh Arora, Political Strategist and Founder & Director at DesignBoxed, the digital marketing firm behind Punjab Police’s digital campaign told BusinessLine, “This is an unprecedented crisis for the world and our endeavour through the digital strategy has been to help the Punjab Police disseminate information in an entertaining manner, which is shareable and can strike a chord with the citizens.”

The State, which is known for its agrarian economy, has a large chunk of population living in rural regions, but with high smartphone penetration.

“Punjab Police needs to reach out not just to urban but also rural citizens. So, we have to take care that citizens can relate to the humour and can understand the witty social media posts and videos. The strategy has been not just to inform them but also to keep the citizen engaged during this lockdown with infotainment content,” Arora said. Since its debut on Tiktok about 10 days ago, Punjab Police’s official account has garnered over 45 million views and its social media campaign has grabbed attention across the country. DesignBoxed, which is rendering its services to the police free of charge, has also been focusing on taking the state police’s communication strategy deeper with social media posts focused on each district.

For public good

“In this crisis,all police departments are engaging with the common man and not criminals. Our social media messaging also focuses on making citizens understand that the Punjab Police is enforcing a lockdown for their benefit and are the real heroes, working at the frontline, during this crisis. Therefore, we have been featuring real cops in our social media content across platforms,” Arora pointed out.

This week, the State police has began a fresh campaign to tackle fake news through GIFs and social media posts. “ Next, we will host talkathons and FB live sessions with the Punjab Director-General of Police Dinkar Gupta. These will be done to get feedback from citizens on how the police can serve and support them better during this lockdown,” Arora added.

Police departments across the country are saddled with the responsibility to enforce the lockdown, carry essential services and tackle rumours. This is the toughest mandate for the police forces across the country and could redefine their communication strategies, he feels.

Published on April 06, 2020

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