Published: 06 February 2018
Mr Pritam Singh: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) what is the implementation status of police's PolCam 2.0 project across Singapore; (b) what specific abnormalities can the system detect; (c) what information and analytics does the system collect on a routine and on-demand or ad-hoc basis; (d) what privacy concerns does the Ministry have with regard to the system; and (e) how have these concerns been mitigated.
1. As at end 2017, the Police have installed about 5,000 cameras under the PolCam 2.0 project, in town centres, neighbourhood centres, hawker centres and link-ways leading to transportation nodes such as MRT stations and bus interchanges.
2. PolCam 2.0 includes cameras which are designed to detect anomalous events. These include public order situations like persons fighting, and sudden congregation or dispersal of crowd. The system will then alert the Police operators, and Police resources can be dispatched if necessary. The system can also identify suspects and allow officers to quickly search for images to facilitate investigations. The technology continues to be refined.
3. Police cameras (including the versions before Polcam 2.0) in general, have proven to be very useful in helping the Police deter and solve crimes, including unlicensed moneylending, theft and outrage of modesty. As at end 2017, video footage from Police cameras have helped to solve more than 2,300 cases.
4. The deployment of cameras is crucial in deterring and dealing with crime, and any terrorist activity. The Police will continue to install more cameras. Our approach has broad support from the public, and has resulted in people feeling safe. Public confidence and trust in the Police remains high. In a perception survey conducted in 2016 by the Police, about 95% of respondents feel safe in their neighbourhoods and trust the Singapore Police Force as an organisation. Among the survey respondents who felt safer than before, the installation of Police cameras in the estates was one of the top factors contributing to their perception that their neighbourhood is safer.
5. SPF has data protection safeguards and controls on the use of Police camera footage. The footage is securely stored, and only authorised persons are allowed to access them. Any officer found accessing the footage for unauthorised purposes will be severely dealt with.