Oral Replies to Parliamentary Questions

Oral Reply to Parliamentary Question on the Leveraging of New Technology by Mr Desmond Lee, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development

Published: 27 January 2016


Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs in light of the manpower crunch and constraints in the public sector, what more can be done by the Home Team to leverage on new technology to detect and deter crime, and to assist with typically manpower-intensive investigations.



1. The Home Team has had to transform the way we operate to cope with increasing demands amid tight manpower constraints. Leveraging on technology is one of the ways, as articulated at the start of the session.


2. One example is the installation of police cameras at the ground-floor lift and staircase landings of HDB blocks and multi-storey carparks to deter crime in our HDB estates. These have reduced crime in our HDB estates, and helped Police solve cases. Installation in all 10,000 blocks should be completed by this year.  We will study the feasibility of installing more police cameras in our HDB estates and other public areas, to enhance security. 


3. We will also leverage on crowdsourcing technology, so members of the public can play a part. I mentioned earlier about the app - Police@SG app. Tapping on the many smartphones in Singapore, the app makes it easy for the public to send relevant photos and videos to Police.  This will enable close to real-time submission of information that can help facilitate investigations.


4. I spoke earlier about another initiative known as the Vehicle on Watch Scheme, which was launched last year. Many car owners across Singapore have joined the scheme, keeping their in-vehicle cameras recording overnight. This adds extra eyes in our HDB car parks to deter crime. Police may approach participating car owners for footage, if needed to solve cases.


5. Police have also redesigned the Neighbourhood Police Posts (NPP) and used technology to facilitate round-the-clock automated services for residents, while allowing police officers to be re-deployed from desk-bound duties to other frontline tasks, such as patrols and walking on the beat.


6. On the ground, our police officers will be provided with the next-generation fast response cars (Next-Gen FRC) that are equipped with more sophisticated technology. We are also exploring the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or drones, to provide a more comprehensive situational picture in public order incidents or during the management of major events.


7. With better information gathering, we will invest in stronger sense making capabilities, such as video and data analytics, so that richer and more timely information is provided to our officers while responding to incidents, or when conducting investigations. Data from different sources will be aggregated and analysed real-time to detect potential threats and criminal activities. Video-trawling technologies can allow us to identify in a matter of minutes, objects and persons of interest from hours of video footage.


8. Advanced data analytics can help us analyse data, discern patterns, and deploy our resources dynamically and in the most optimal way.  We will be better able to adopt a tiered and differentiated frontline response model, channelling resources to where they are most needed.  This will enable us to enhance the safety and security of Singaporeans.


Science and Technology