In the 2004 movie Starsky and Hutch, a remake of the classic 1970s TV show of the same name, detective David Starsky says: "In Bay City, when you step over the line, your nuts are mine!" Lately, many police departments across India have taken to Twitter to emulate the attitude that made the show a cult classic (the movie received only middling reviews) and use sassy one-liners, memes and GIFs to inform, educate and entertain the public.
The latest example came from the Bengaluru Police Tuesday, who brought their A-game to tackle the drug menace:
Is your peddler not picking your calls ? Drop his number here and we'll make sure all the scores are settled.
" BengaluruCityPolice (@BlrCityPolice) December 4, 2018
The department also put everyone's favourite (and coincidentally, long-dead) drug kingpin Pablo Escobar to good use:
Bengaluru Police's Twitter handle has 1.24 million followers. The department joined the social media platform in August 2012 and with its frequent use of pop-culture references, has been a hit with the Twitterati, especially the youth.
But with 4.62 million follows, the Mumbai Police is, by far the most popular on social media. Debuting on the social media site in 2015, it gained 10,000 followers in less than 24 hours.
Here are just some of their recent tweets:
Quite a hero-like advice by a villain, to avoid your life becoming 'a series of unfortunate events' indeed!#DontDriveDrunk pic.twitter.com/dEU98ce4GW " Mumbai Police (@MumbaiPolice) November 23, 2018
*Creates a new Social Media Account* Your brain: Think of a Strong Password. Think of a Strong Password. Think of a Strong Password. Think of a Strong Password. Think of a Strong Password. Think of a Strong Password. You: "Strong Password" *Result* Hacked " Mumbai Police (@MumbaiPolice) November 17, 2018
While Canadian rapper Drake's song In My Feelings became a worldwide chartbuster, it also led to the dangerous #Kikichallenge (to the consternation of police departments everywhere). The Punjab Police, taking a break from battling drug peddlers, posted this:
Kiki might not, But #PunjabPolice has a lot of love for its citizens.
Which is why we challenge you to do the smart thing and not dance in the middle of the road with the car door open.
" Punjab Police India (@PunjabPoliceInd) August 1, 2018
The Uttar Pradesh Police likewise echoed their brethren:
Dear Parents, whether Kiki loves your child or not, we are sure you do! So please stand by your kids in all the challenges in life except #kikichallenge . #KiKiHardlyAChallenge #InMyFeelingsChallenge #UPPolice pic.twitter.com/RyTvoChJFa
" UP POLICE (@Uppolice) July 30, 2018
'Improving relationship with public'
Speaking to The Indian Express, Sunchika Pandey, a former crime reporter who handles both the city police's and Mumbai Police Joint Commissioner (law and order) Deven Bharti's Twitter account, said they hold regular meetings to brainstorm on a theme or campaign which will engage people. Bharti quipped how it is not only the popularity but the value added to the "Mumbaikar's relationship with the cops" that matter, according to the report.