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MHA COS 2021: Home Team Transformation

Safeguarding Singapore through Home Team Transformation.
GRAPHIC: Home Team News

At the Committee of Supply (COS) Debate in Parliament on 1 March 2021, Minister for Home Affairs Mr K Shanmugam shared the Home Team’s focus on Transformation in order to keep Singapore safe and secure. Here are five highlights from his speech.

GRAPHIC: Home Team News

1. Our Impetus for Transformation
To deal with increasing demands and the challenges of limited manpower, the Home Team had focused on Transformation and the increased use of technology. The Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX) was established in December 2019 to develop customised technology solutions for the Home Team, and has built-up talent and capabilities in 14 Centres of Expertise. HTX is also developing expertise in managing data centres and cloud-based technologies.


2. Transforming Our Operations
Enhancing Sensor Network and Empowering Officers: The Singapore Police Force (SPF) has transformed the way it fights crime and serves the public. There are now almost 90,000 cameras in major public locations. This has been a game-changer to deter, investigate and solve crimes. Surveys have also shown that people feel safer with the prominent placement of Police cameras in their neighbourhoods. 

Enhancing Investigative Capabilities: SPF and the Central Narcotics Bureau are also working to sharpen their capabilities with technology. Their investigation and case management systems are being digitised, automated and streamlined, so that officers can access case information and update cases on the move.

Fire and Emergency Response: The Singapore Civil Defence Force is building the next generation of Smart Fire Stations starting with the new Punggol Fire Station. The new Stations will make greater use of sensors and automation to help with manpower management, operational response and decision-making.

Immigration Clearance: The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority will also transform its operations. Today, eligible travellers can already use the Multi-Modal Biometric System (MMBS) to clear Immigration by scanning their face and iris. This is more secure than fingerprint clearance, and also contactless. 
Prisons: The Singapore Prison Service (SPS) has made good progress with technology, in particular its “Prison Without Guards” strategy. The vision is to have a smart prison that leverages technology to automate routine work, so that Prison officers can focus on the rehabilitation of inmates.

To enhance their learning, inmates are given mobile tablets with e-books and guiding resources to supplement their regular lessons and programmes. This allows them to learn at their own pace and take greater ownership of their rehabilitation.
Drones and Robotics: Drones and robots were deployed for security operations, such as at COVID-19 isolation facilities, which reduced the risk of exposure for our frontline officers. The Home Team will continue to build on its drone and robotics capabilities.
3. Transforming Service Delivery
ICA is transforming its service delivery by bringing even more services online, including the registration or re-registration for Identification Cards and updating of addresses (instead of visiting the ICA Building or a Police Post). ICA will also issue more types of documents in digital form, such as birth and death certificates, and long-term passes.

4. Transforming Our Workforce for the Future
The Home Team Academy (HTA) has been using the Home Team Simulation System to train our officers in managing large-scale security incidents and joint operations. It requires fewer resources to carry out than a physical training exercise. HTA will enhance the system with new technologies like Artificial Intelligence and expand its usage to more officers.

SCDF’s re-development of the Civil Defence Academy will also include a Digital Learning Lab, which will provide Virtual Reality training for SCDF officers (such as extricating people from a car wreckage).

5. Our Manpower Needs will Still Grow
HTX will hire a few hundred scientists and engineers over the next few years, to build a critical mass of experts in areas like digital and crime scene forensics, robotics and automation. We will also increase the number of Police investigators.

MHA COS 2021
Read the COS 2021 speech delivered by Minister K Shanmugam. For more on MHA COS 2021, visit the MHA COS 2021 webpage.

Written by

Desmond Ang


1 March 2021

Science and Technology
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