ADDENDA TO PRESIDENT'S ADDRESS

240 high-tech digital traffic cameras to be installed around Singapore by June 2015

Digital traffic cameras at an unknown location overseas. The new cameras will allow the Singapore police to download the pictures remotely instead of having to retrieve and process the film. -- PHOTO: JENOPTIK
Digital traffic cameras at an unknown location overseas. The new cameras will allow the Singapore police to download the pictures remotely instead of having to retrieve and process the film. -- PHOTO: JENOPTIK

The police are replacing their old-school red light cameras, which use film, with modern digital ones.

They have put in an order - worth several million dollars - with a German company for 240 sets of these 11 megapixel cameras, which can take sharper images and be able to pick out offenders in multiple lanes at intersections.

The cameras will also allow the police to download the pictures remotely instead of having to retrieve and process the film.

It was reported in December that the 240 cameras at traffic junctions islandwide will be replaced by new digital ones, which will be operational at all times and have enhanced capabilities to better identify vehicles that run red lights.

"By the first half of 2015, there will be some 240 digital red light and speed cameras installed islandwide," said a police spokesman.

The new digital cameras are part of efforts to address the growing number of traffic violations. According to Traffic Police statistics, there were 367,496 violations last year, about 11 per cent more than the 332,206 in 2012.

Among these, speeding violations continued to make up the largest portion, and red-light offences came in second.

Upgrading and acquiring new technological capabilities are key to expanding and sharpening the Home Team's abilities, said the Prime Minister's Office in an addenda to the President's Address released yesterday.

Such initiatives include body-worn cameras for police officers and cameras in all Housing Board blocks by 2016.

The order for the new traffic cameras, which were tested here last year, was announced by German traffic solutions manufacturer Jenoptik earlier this week.

According to the company's press officer and head of communications and marketing Britta Schell, the 240 sets, which can be operated via remote control, cost somewhere "in the mid single-digit million range" in euros.

This covers the delivery, installation and commissioning of the systems, as well as the supply of office software for "efficient and secure incident processing and adjudication".

Delivery of the cameras has already begun and is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Ms Schell also said that her company has submitted a bid for another Singapore police tender for speed cameras that has yet to conclude.

Drivers can be dealt a fine and 12 demerit points for beating a red light. Two such offences within 24 months will result in a licence suspension.

"It's an excellent idea, and the digital camera is a much better deterrent for motorists because with the current film ones, when the film runs out, you may miss offenders," said retired police officer and private investigator Lionel de Souza, who also runs a security agency.

"I think we can expect the number of offenders caught to go up initially, and then fewer people will try to beat traffic lights," he added.

hpeishan@sph.com.sg