A police officer of Cư M’Gar District instructs a local how to use Zalo to connect with police. — VNA/VNS Photos Hoài Thu
ĐẮK LẮK — H’Đào Niê often uses Zalo to ask for support from local police.
When she lost her personal identification documents, she chatted with police officers on Zalo, a free Vietnamese mobile-based texting and calling app, and asked what documents she needed to prepare to apply for re-issuance.
The police officers replied to her quickly with detailed instructions, saving her lots of time compared to travelling to the local police’s headquarters and waiting for an answer.
Connecting with local residents through Zalo is an initiative launched by police on a trial basis since March in Cư M’Gar District and Buôn Ma Thuột City in the Central Highlands province of Đắk Lắk.
Police at commune and town levels across Cư M’Gar District and Buôn Ma Thuột City created 131 Zalo pages with more than 74,000 subscribers. Residents can find information on legal documents, administrative procedures, crimes and diseases on daily posts.
Villagers of Cư M’Gar District also created 45 Zalo community groups, for example, a group of school security officers and a group of local coffee shop owners. They usually exchange news, photos about what is happening around their areas every day and report to the police robbers, gambling, illegal loan lending, drug usage at school or names of facilities which did not follow social distancing orders.
Reports from local residents on Zalo have helped police perform COVID-19 prevention and control work better, said Major Nguyễn Hữu Quyền, a police officer of Ea Kpam Commune, Cư M’Gar District.
A police officer answers residents' inquiries on Zalo.
Ea Kpam Commune was a hotspot for robberies and thanks to Zalo reports, the police caught four robbers. Effective Zalo communication helps police ensure local security and order, and gain trust from residents, Quyền said.
One night in June, police of Đắk Lắk Province received a message from a resident, reporting a group of more than 30 students were gathering in an empty land lot with weapons in Buôn Ma Thuột City and were about to fight.
After receiving the report, police came to the site and stopped the fight.
More than 300 messages were sent to police reporting social disorder and crimes over the past four months.
Lieutenant Colonel Bùi Chí Trung, deputy head of Cư M’Gar District’s Police Department, said the department had launched training courses to help police officers get familiar with Zalo and install high-speed wifi in police stations.
In remote areas where few villagers use smartphones, police have instructed local residents to team up in groups of five to 10 households and share a Zalo account to connect with police.
The district police will instruct locals how to ensure security while using Zalo, he said.
Colonel Lê Văn Tuyến, director of the provincial Police Department, said the model had increased interaction between police and local residents and had helped police shorten the time needed to investigate crimes. — VNS