If everybody and their neighbour is doing it online, could the police be far behind? As part of its ‘Safe Pathanamthitta’ campaign, the Pathanamthitta district police is turning to memes for spreading drug awareness among students.
The memes created by the police department use popular scenes from Malayalam films to spread an important message – children should stay safe from drugs and the police are there to help.
The district police had earlier introduced hotline numbers (7025633911, 9497931258) for children to report any drug peddling or drug-related activities taking place near their schools. Students can also call in or Whatsapp the hotline numbers to inform the police about any other crimes against children.
To make the message about hotlines more accessible to students, the Pathanamthitta police has turned to movie memes, taking popular scenes featuring actors like Nivin Pauly or Jagathy.
One meme from the film Oru Muthassi Gadha has a young student worrying over what police will do to him if he complains about drug activity.
Boy 1: Will the police question us if we tell them about drugs being sold near our school.
Boy 2: No nothing like that. We just have to tell them the details on the number 9497931258.
Other memes have drug peddlers quivering in fear over the new helplines, and warn of consequences for them.
Can’t see anyone to sell my ganja to. Should I go to the school?
No, I’m in for it if the students tell the police on 7025633911.
Student 1: Shall I get some ‘stuff’ (ganja) for you?
Student 2 (Nivin Pauly): Will we end up in trouble if we use it.
Student 3 (Anupama): Of course yes, because I know the toll free number 7025633911.
The response to the new campaign has been very encouraging, says SP Satheesh Bino with the police frequently receiving calls from students, giving valuable information.
“Through this campaign we also aim to correct any fears or misconceptions among students over informing police. We are trying to tell them that we will make sure that providing information will not adversely affect them in any way,” he said.
The Pathanamthitta police are not the first department in the country to turn to memes to spread awareness about public safety. For some time now, the Bengaluru City Police has been grabbing eyeballs with a series of memes, tweets and posts that borrow from popular international series like Game of Thrones and Harry Potter to promote road safety in the city.