The appalling state of women’s security in the national capital leaves women in the area feeling unsafe and insecure almost all the time. While the Police has routinely employed traditional methods like help lines to support women in distress, they seemed to have missed the mark. In times of trouble, women are often unable to connect with or contact a police official for help in the unforeseen situation. To improve accessibility and the response mechanism of police departments, the Delhi Police launched the “Himmat” mobile application to serve the purpose. This app launched in 2015, was to function as an emergency service that with the touch of a button would notify the user’s trusted contacts and the police centre about the emergency along with the user’s location.
While the launch of the Himmat App was seen as a great initiative from the Delhi Police, not a lot of people were aware about the same thus limiting its usage to about 31,000 people only. The lack of awareness coupled with the cumbersome registration process was the main reason why the application failed to deliver what its creators had in mind. However, having resolved to serve the women of the region and ensure that the women feel safe and secure at all times, the Delhi Police has for the third time relaunched the app with changes that aim to make the application more user friendly and have a greater appeal amongst the masses. The application is now being launched with a far more simplified registration process and options of both Hindi and English languages available for operating the same.
This outreach app not only informs the victims close contacts about the situation but also notifies the control centre that then immediately contacts the victim to inquire about the situation and act accordingly. In addition to this, as soon as the SOS command is given on the app, the phone automatically starts live video recording that is also transmitted to the Police Control Centre. These features have been developed not only to help women out in times of crisis and distress but also to empower them and make them feel more secure when they are on the go.
The police department aims at raising awareness about the launch and the features of this app to ensure it reaches a maximum number of people who may benefit from the same. They have also invited feedback and suggestions from students and other users on how the application can be made more user friendly to cater to a larger population. Responding to a number of concerns over the usage of the app, Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik, clarified that the app was for the safety and security of all citizens residing the region and was not limited just to women, however given the trend of crimes in the city focuses more on them. The launch of this app presents a fresh take on the issue and employs new technologies to make the distress mechanism more efficient.
As an organization that strives to empower women, we strongly urge women to join this initiative to make the 79 lakh women in the city more secure and actively provide feedback to the Delhi Police on how this application or the existing mechanisms can be made more effective and efficient. We believe innovative ways to solve existing problems go a long way to serve greater impact as compared to the traditional methods. Besides just the safety aspect, each one of us must also engage in raising awareness about the need for equal rights, opportunities and privileges for all.