On-demand policing by app, but only for neighborhood disputes – China’s latest society and culture news

Society & Culture

A summary of the top news in Chinese society and culture for July 19, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.

On July 18, the Xuanwu police station in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, unveiled (in Chinese) a service platform called “Didi Police” on WeChat, which uses concepts of the “sharing economy” in daily police work. The three major services available on the platform are:

  • On demand specialist consultation for police officers: More than 200 experts from various fields will be on call, allowing police officers to solicit professional opinions. The platform also enables officers to upload audio and video. Ordinary people can become authorized experts by submitting an application online.
  • Didi report: An attempt to integrate the mechanism behind Didi Chuxing, the most popular ride-hailing app in China, into police work. When a user reports a case on the platform, police officers nearby can “grab the order” (抢单 qiǎng dān). This function is only available for non-urgent reports such as neighbor disputes and noise complaints, and is operational from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Task distribution: The police station can publish tasks on the platform and recruit police officers who are willing to complete them.

Online, some internet users praised the service platform for being “creative,” while others mocked it. “So now I have to wait one more minute to see if any police officer finds my report appealing or not? This is ridiculous,” one person wrote (in Chinese).