Automated system eases paperwork for police

A new automated system known as Briefing Notes Automator helps police investigation officers draft internal documents and saves each officer around three hours of work each day.
A new automated system known as Briefing Notes Automator helps police investigation officers draft internal documents and saves each officer around three hours of work each day.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

A new automated system, which helps police investigation officers draft internal documents, has been able to save each officer around three hours of work each day.

Called the Briefing Notes Automator and rolled out at all police divisions last December, the system screens people who lodge police reports by running their information through different platforms - within minutes.

Previously, when investigation officers had to retrieve information to prepare summaries of cases, they had to run checks on three separate platforms, a process that took up to 15 minutes per case.

An investigation officer is usually assigned to handle between 10 and 20 cases a day.

When The Straits Times visited Tanglin Police Division last month, the Briefing Notes Automator generated screening results, such as whether a complainant had lodged other reports before, or if he was involved in other cases.

In a recent interview with ST, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam called such automation "just one very small part" of cutting back on man-hours.

Besides automating the back-end work of an investigation officer, such as writing up and preparing a charge sheet, data integration applies to other areas too, he said.

These include identifying potentially harmful material among goods entering Singapore and getting speedy details of similar incidents or persons of interest when a crime is reported.

In a similar vein, drafting charge sheets is currently a time-consuming process due to the need to obtain and piece together information from multiple systems.

The need to cross-reference and process information also leads to possible transcribing inaccuracies.

This is why the police have conducted a trial to automate the process of drafting charge sheets.

Following success in this area, a team is looking into implementing the technology for the process.

Adopting new technology to streamline work processes is "pivotal" to addressing manpower constraints and emerging challenges, said a Singapore Police Force spokesman, adding that the police are also "testing various forms of video analytics", which include facial recognition.

"The Briefing Notes Automator is one of many features of the next-generation case-management system the Singapore Police Force is looking to develop," she said.

She added that automation, as a "force multiplier", has been a key strategy of the police force "to cope with the ever-increasing demands on limited resources".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 02, 2017, with the headline 'Automated system eases paperwork for police'. Print Edition | Subscribe