On Assignment
Eyes in the Sky to Guide Boots on the Ground
Officers of SPF’s Sky Aerial Response Command will pilot UAVs to support frontline operations.

Home Team News - Sky ARC 1A
The pilot at his craft: ASP Sum Tuck Meng showcases UAVs from the Sky Aerial Response Command. PHOTO: Desmond Ang

Midnight at one of Singapore’s primary forests – under the thick forested canopy, the Police officers carefully make their way through the darkness, on the lookout for vice and immigration offenders.

In another scenario, officers try to ascertain what’s happening behind the gates of a high-rise residential unit while negotiating with a suspect who’s locked himself inside.

In these two scenarios, the lack of visibility hinders the Police's operations, and adds to the challenge of protecting lives and upholding the law.

Now imagine this – what if officers were given a bird’s eye view, boosted by thermal imaging cameras that allow them to see in the dark and into the high-rise residential unit? 

This capability would greatly enhance “line of sight” for frontline officers, giving an invaluable boost to enforcement operations by the Singapore Police Force (SPF).

No, this isn’t the plot of a video game; such capabilities will be trialed by the SPF through the Sky Aerial Response Command (ARC), a new operational capability for frontline units to operate a range of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to support SPF operations.

Home Team News - Sky Arc 1
High-flyer: ASP Sum Tuck Meng operates UAVs to support fellow officers on the ground. PHOTO: Desmond Ang

Airborne Advantage
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Sum Tuck Meng is among the pioneer batch of UAV pilots who are now taking the fight against crime to the skies. The 24-year veteran of the SPF understands the challenges of law enforcement on the ground, after having completed various patrol and investigative postings.

“UAVs give us a unique bird's eye view of the situation on the ground,” said ASP Sum. “In challenging terrain such as forested areas, officers can quickly find and arrest suspects, or rescue lost hikers.”

Home Team News - Sky Arc 2
The Sky ARC vehicle carries various types of UAVs and communications equipment to relay information back to ground commanders in real time. PHOTOS: Desmond Ang

UAVs are capable of altitudes of up to a few hundred metres, and can be equipped with different payloads such as thermal imaging and high zoom cameras. Footage can also be live-streamed for viewing by ground commanders and police command centres, providing them with valuable intelligence to enhance decision-making.

Home Team News - Sky ARC 3
ASP Sum is optimistic about how UAVs can contribute to the Home Team's mission. PHOTO: Desmond Ang

In light of their advantages, UAVs are set to play a bigger role in SPF operations. They have already been tested at New Year countdowns, security operations in forested areas and even the DPRK-USA Singapore Summit.

“The situational awareness offered by UAVs helps us to formulate the best plan of action,” said ASP Sum. “In a search and rescue scenario, for example, this can mean the difference between life and death.”


Police Workplan Seminar 2019


Check out more tech highlights from the Workplan here.

Read the speech by Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law Mr K Shanmugam at Police Workplan Seminar 2019.


Home Team 2019 Workplan Seminars
Tech Spotlight: Checkpoint Transformation (ICA)
Tech Spotlight: The Future of Emergency Services (SCDF)
Strengthening the Ties that Bind (SPS)
New Jobs, New Lives (SCORE)
Eyes in the Sky to Guide Boots on the Ground (SPF)
The Future of Training; Training for the Future (HTA)

  1. by Fatris Bin Jasmin
  2. 17 April 2019
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