Parliament: Surveillance cameras will be pre-installed in new HDB blocks after 2016

New blocks of Housing Board flats built after end-2016 will come with surveillance cameras already installed, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry S. Iswaran said on Tuesday. -- PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER FILE
New blocks of Housing Board flats built after end-2016 will come with surveillance cameras already installed, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry S. Iswaran said on Tuesday. -- PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER FILE

SINGAPORE - New blocks of Housing Board flats built after end-2016 will come with surveillance cameras already installed, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry S. Iswaran said on Tuesday.

But in the interim period, some new blocks may not be completed with cameras installed.

"We are at a transition period because this is a programme that's being implemented progressively," he told Ms Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC). She asked if CCTVs could be installed in all new blocks of flats to increase security before residents move in.

"I think once we hit a steady state situation, then the roll-out can be more in tandem with the development of new blocks," he said.

Surveillance cameras at Housing Board stairwells, lift lobbies and carparks are part of the $160 million Community Policing System, which was launched in May 2012. All 10,000 HDB blocks and multi-storey carparks are expected to have cameras installed by 2016.

Providing an update, Mr Iswaran said that the programme is on track and is currently at the one-third mark - with 18,000 cameras installed in 3,300 blocks.

On how the police decides which blocks will be the first to have cameras installed - and when - Mr Iswaran said the police consider a variety of factors like local crime trends, community feedback and town council recommendations.

To expedite installation in new blocks of Housing Board flats, the police worked with the HDB to incorporate police camera requirements into the design, he said.

Both organisations also work closely to enhance the safety of housing estates. For example, crime prevention advisories are featured on the HDB website and publications to raise residents' crime awareness, and the HDB takes police security inputs into account when carrying out development works, he added.

Responding to Mr Zaqy Mohamad (Chua Chu Kang GRC), who asked if camera coverage could be broadened to include bicycle bays for example, he said the police are cognisant of such needs in the community.

"Where there is a local priority or concern, the police factor that in their considerations when deciding on deployment of cameras geographically," he said, adding that he would take Mr Zaqy's feedback into consideration on how to expand the programme.

rachelay@sph.com.sg