Special cameras in town centres and walkways. Is this to Much?

Police cameras will be put up not just in housing blocks, but also town centres and public walkways, in a move to enhance vigilance.

The cameras, to be installed from the second half of the year, will come with pan-tilt-zoom functions and 360-degree fields of view. They will also be able to automatically analyse closed-circuit television footage to detect unusual activities.

Jurong Gateway, Bedok Town Centre and Ang Mo Kio Town Centre are the first three locations to get the new cameras, under an initiative called Polcam 2.0.

By December 2020, the cameras will be installed in all key public areas, such as town centres and pedestrian walkways.

The initiative follows the success of Polcam 1.0, which began in 2012 and saw police cameras installed at 10,000 Housing Board blocks and multi-storey carparks. “That has helped the police solve crimes and has given greater confidence to the public,” said Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam at the annual Police Workplan Seminar and Exhibition yesterday.

“Police will need new ways to analyse all the bits of data and video footage that is going to be taken,” he said. “It is not possible to do this manually, so they are developing and refining video analytics capabilities to automate the analysis of Polcam footage. This will highlight incidents of interest to our officers who can then look at it.”

Protective security measures for buildings and premises will also be given a boost to increase deterrence and improve the police’s situational awareness.

Commercial entities will be encouraged to adopt the Video Surveillance Standards, so that CCTV footage can be obtained by the police for investigations and incident management.

The necessary legal framework will be put in place to require premises owners and organisers of major events to adopt essential security measures.

The police will also test the use of unmanned vehicles to help its manned patrols, while the Police Coast Guard (PCG) will begin exploring the use of unmanned surface vessels to conduct localised surveillance patrols and intercept intruding vessels.

The use of new technology has been a key part of the Home Team’s transformation to keep pace with emerging challenges, including the threat of terrorism, amid a manpower crunch, said Mr Shanmugam.

He also talked about the need to ensure that the police force continues to attract and retain good people. To this end, the police are set to implement a new unified rank structure, and invest more in their training.

Highlighting how Singapore has been ranked the world’s safest country by last year’s Gallup Global Law and Order report, he thanked the police officers on behalf of Singaporeans for their work.

This article was first published on April 30, 2016.
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