Safety Islands in Bengaluru: Reach the cops in 10 seconds with the press of an SOS button

Thirty Safety Islands police kiosks with CCTV cameras were installed across the city as a part of phase 1. Another 20 are to come in phase 2.

ByBellie Thomas

Published Jun 27, 2023 | 12:18 AMUpdatedJun 27, 2023 | 12:19 AM

The Safety Island police kiosk and the CCTV pole close by. (Bellie Thomas/SouthFirst)

Dial 112 was the “mantra” offered to anyone in distress by the Bengaluru City Police.

But what if you don’t have a phone on you when you are in crisis? Let’s say it’s out of charge, or lost, or stolen, and you need to contact the police immediately. This is where Safety Islands come into play.

The Bengaluru City Police have installed 30 such “Safety Islands” across the city at strategic locations, where they learnt that the movement of women was higher.

South First’s test call

The Safety Islands project has been launched under the Nirbhaya Fund, and is expected to help a person in distress get in direct touch with the police control room in under 10 seconds.

All one needs to do is press the red SOS button on the blue police kiosk.

South First tried out one of the kiosks placed at Grand Circle on Lavelle Road. We pressed the SOS button and in under 10 seconds, a member of the control room police staff responded via a call to the kiosk and interacted with us through a speaker.

After we clarified that it was just a test, the call was transferred to an officer who explained how the kiosk would work after a person in distress would press the SOS button.

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How the SOS button works

Anyone in distress can press the SOS button. They will be greeted by a call from the police control room asking them what kind of emergency they are in.

Meanwhile, the control room staff can also view the complainant from the CCTV camera situated close to the kiosk to understand and gather more information on the type of emergency.

“As soon as the complaint is taken up, the control room staff finds the nearest Hoysala patrol vehicle or a police vehicle in close proximity to the victim and dispatches it there,” a senior police officer told South First.

“Soon after the police team attends to the complainant, the team closes the call by filing an Action Taken Report (ATR),” added the cop.

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Phase 1 of the project

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Command Centre) Ravindra Kashinath Gadadi told South First, “We have installed 30 Safety Island kiosks at several locations within the city police commissionerate as a part of phase 1 of the project.”

He added: “We contacted all the deputy commissioners of police (DCPs) of different divisions and asked them to give us a list of locations they deemed apt for installation of the Safety Islands. Then we shortlisted this further, depending on the footfalls of women at a particular junction.”

Some of the important junctions are the Church Street circle in front of Empire Hotel near MG Road, the Garuda Mall in Ashok Nagar, the Mysore Bank Circle near Halasuru Gate, the CMH Road Metro Station in Indiranagar, and the Coffee Board Layout in Amruthahalli, said the DCP.

“We will be installing another 20 Safety Islands as part of phase 2 in the near future,” Gadadi added.

It has been more than three weeks since these Safety Island kiosks have been installed, but there have been no distress calls until now from any of these kiosks.

“We are getting calls from some of the kiosks when people press the SOS button out of curiosity and want information about the project. Media personnel do their test calls as well,” DCP Gadadi told South First.

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