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Tech in the Home Team: Harnessing Technology to Monitor Threats
Every month, we feature how our Home Team scientists and engineers are using Science and Technology to keep Singapore safe and secure.

This month, we look at how technology helps Home Team officers monitor and detect threats. 

Bio-surveillance of Bio-terrorism Threats and Flu Agents
Since 2009, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has implemented a Bio-surveillance Programme to monitor and detect bio-terrorism threats and flu agents at our borders. Under this Programme, the MHA’s CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives) laboratories at our land checkpoints utilise a state-of-the-art, silicon-chip-based system that lets us obtain results of any bio-terrorism threat and flu agents within three hours. This gives us valuable lead-time to implement mitigation measures.

MHA OCSTO biosurveillance 01
GRAPHIC: Home Team News

The Bio-surveillance Programme has helped Immigration and Checkpoints Authority officers secure our borders. The system can also be deployed inland to offer environmental bio-surveillance at venues of major events such as the National Day Parade 

PolCam 2.0
One tech-driven Home Team initiative that’s taken a bite out of crime is the PolCam system of the Singapore Police Force (SPF), now in its second phase of implementation. Here are three things you should know about this game-changer.

#1. PolCam 1.0 involved the installation of over 65,000 police cameras in HDB blocks and multi-storey carparks. This took place from 2012 to 2017.

SPF PolCam 01
GRAPHIC: Home Team News

#2. PolCam 2.0 began in mid-2016 and, by end-2017, about 5,000 additional cameras had been installed in town centres, neighbourhood centres, hawker centres and link ways leading to public transport nodes such as MRT stations and bus interchanges. PolCam 2.0 includes cameras that can detect anomalous events like persons fighting or the sudden congregation or dispersal of crowds.

#3. PolCam has proven to be very useful in deterring and solving crimes (such as unlicensed moneylending, theft and outrage of modesty). By end-2017, footage from PolCam had helped to solve over 2,300 cases. Findings from a 2016 SPF perception survey also showed that about 95% of respondents felt safe in their neighbourhoods. Among these respondents, PolCam was one of the most frequently cited factors as to why they felt safer.

Eyes in the Sky, and on Ground Patrol
Since 2016, the SPF has worked with industry partners to trial and deploy Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for traffic management, crowd monitoring and enforcement operations. The UAVs (which can be deployed day and night) provide useful situational data to the command post, complementing other surveillance systems such as CCTVs.

Drawing lessons from earlier prototypes, the SPF recently developed a UAV that is equipped with blinkers, a search-light and an audio warning system. Besides enhancing Police presence and communications with the public, this UAV can be used for security operations during major events.

SPF UAV and Patrol Robot 01
GRAPHIC: Home Team News

The SPF has also trialled robo-eyes on the ground too. During the Chingay Parade in February 2018, an autonomous patrol robot was deployed to support frontline officers. The patrol robot helps project a Police presence without tapping on more officers, and aids the command post by looking out for suspicious activities, thus allowing officers to respond promptly to incidents. 

Look out for more robotic assets to be deployed for security operations during major events and community engagements, and for protective security purposes.
© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.

  1. by Mike Tan
  2. 19 April 2018
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