India

Could Darth Vader save lives in India?

A tweet from Bangalore police with an image of Darth Vader in his helmet and the message "Ask Darth Vader, the death evader, your helmet, your safety". Then Bangalore police say: "Helmets are important. Ask anyone." Image copyright Bangalore Police

"You are unwise to lower your defences," says Darth Vader in one of the Star Wars films.

A police force in India agrees with him and is using the fictional baddie to drive home a traffic safety message.

The rogue Jedi is inseparable from his helmet. In fact, it keeps him alive. So too will yours, Bangalore police are telling motorbike riders.

These tweets are part of the force's strategy to connect with young people.

"Using popular characters from films is helping us reach people in the most efficient and the fastest way," District Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Abhishek Goel told the BBC.

"It's no secret that social media is all about grabbing eyeballs, and these characters are helping us do just that."

Star Wars is not the only series which has inspired them. Police have also used the popular HBO series Game of Thrones to get their message across.

Lord Tyrion is part of the powerful Lannister clan, which is known for always paying its debts.

And police are harnessing the Lannister might to remind people that paying their fines for traffic violations is important.

Image copyright Bangalore Police

The campaign has got a good response. People seems to be enjoying and even taking heed of the advice.

Image copyright Naveen

Hodor is another popular character from Game of Thrones. He keeps repeating "hodor" in the series because that's the only word he can speak. But he actually means "hold the door", as is revealed when he sacrifices his life keeping a door closed from "white walkers" - other worldly humanoids - to save his young charge.

So Hodor has become an inspiration for police to stop people from drink driving.

Image copyright Bangalore Police

In the series, some people become white walkers when they die. So police are using the white walkers' fate to warn people against jaywalking and urge them to use pedestrian crossings instead.

Image copyright Bangalore police

Narcos is a hit series based on the life of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. He was once one of the most powerful men in the country, but eventually became isolated and died in a police shootout.

The police, in the following meme, seems to be suggesting that Bangalore is not a place for drug dealers.

Image copyright Bangalore Police

And the reactions have been mostly welcoming and often hilarious, including this one from Netflix - the producers of the series - pledging help from two of the series' cops.

Image copyright Bangalore Police

The police say their strategy of using popular TV series and films is working.

"People connect with you easily when you use humour and wit. I feel it's the best way to prevent crime and educate people," Mr Goe says.

He adds that Bangalore is known as the IT capital of India and most young people are on social media.

"Then I think it's natural for a police force to rely on social media - with a good amount of humour thrown in," he says.

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