Police in the Firozabad district of India's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, have announced an initiative that will put public complaints on a blockchain.
The project is the first of its kind in India and is powered by Polygon, a scaling tool looking to facilitate lower-cost crypto transactions and uses the Ethereum blockchain. The portal, called "police complaint on blockchain," will not charge users to file grievances or complaints and accommodates both Hindi and English languages. Complainants can check on the status of the case, know who the assigned officer is and get alerts on the progress of a complaint.
India has a historically messy process for registering police complaints marred by corruption, bureaucratic delays, and retractions by complainants themselves. Officers are known to cut their caseloads by refusing to register crime complaints, and there have been instances where complainants were either forced or intimidated into altering their original complaints. India has more than 40 million pending court cases thanks in part to delays fueled by the coronavirus pandemic.
"Now, once the complaint has been filed, it cannot be removed or changed, it will be immutable," said Ashish Tiwari, senior superintendent of police, Firozabad Police. "We felt the need for this technology. Police stations in the area will have QR codes to scan to complete the form to register a complaint."
The portal was put together by Ankur Rakhi Sinha, the founder of AirChains, a Web3 software development platform, with the support of the police district's smart cell, which is a group of personnel within police departments equipped and acquainted with the latest technology to fight crime.
"This is very close to my heart," tweeted Polygon's co-founder Sandeep Nailwal. "We grow up hearing about so many of such cases wherein due to some corruption in a local police department, victims (mostly of rapes) are not even able to register complaints or the complaints being manipulated. This could be a game-changer in ensuring right to justice," he added.
In India, after a complaint is filed, a First Information Report (FIR) is prepared by the police if they determine an official investigation is required. All complaints filed will go on the blockchain but not every complaint will progress into an FIR.
“Every complaint will be assessed and if it is feasible then an FIR will be registered," Tiwari told CoinDesk, adding that the police will decide if an investigation is warranted within seven days of the complaint being filed.
Similar projects are in the pipeline in other states of India including Delhi, West Bengal, Assam and Chhattisgarh, according to a local news report.
Officials in India have also introduced blockchain “caste certificates” to up to 65,000 tribal members in a remote region in an attempt to stop fraudulent claims on government benefits for the disadvantaged.
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