Parliament: Strict regime to ensure data privacy in police camera footage; 5,000 cameras already installed

Strict protocols have been introduced in view of the wide range of data collected under PolCam 2.0, which has seen about 5,000 cameras installed in different parts of Singapore. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - There are strict protocols ensuring that access to police camera footage is "tightly controlled", said Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin on Tuesday (Feb 6), responding to concerns on data privacy.

This is in view of the wide range of data collected under PolCam 2.0, which has seen about 5,000 cameras installed in town centres, hawker centres and covered linkways leading to MRT stations among other public areas, noted Mr Pritam Singh (Aljunied GRC).

When police cameras were introduced in 2012, they were installed at Housing Board blocks and multi-storey carparks. The expansion of the scheme in 2016 under PolCam 2.0 took these cameras to a wider range of common areas.

Cameras used for PolCam 2.0 include those able to detect anomalous events, said Mr Amrin.

"These include public order situations like persons fighting, and sudden congregation or dispersal of crowds," he said, adding the police officers will then be alerted.

"The system can also identify suspects and allow officers to quickly search for images to facilitate investigations," he added.

However, Mr Amrin said, "any persons found using the footages or accessing the information for unauthorised purposes will be severely dealt with".

He stressed the importance of maintaining public trust and confidence in the system.

PolCam 2.0 is expected to be completed by 2020 covering 2,500 locations, with about 6,000 more cameras to be installed.

Footage from police cameras hashelped solve more than 2,300 cases of crime, including unlicensed moneylending, theft and outrage of modesty, said Mr Amrin.

"The deployment of cameras is crucial in deterring and dealing with crime, and any terrorist activity," he added.

Separately, responding to other questions on emergency preparedness, Mr Amrin said there will be a pilot programme to instal automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in selected condominiums. This will be done in four constituencies.

More than 2,000 AEDs have been installed in HDB blocks in 36 out of 89 constituencies, he added, responding to Ms Cheryl Chan (Fengshan) who asked for an update on emergency preparedness and the roll-out of national movement SGSecure in condominiums and private estates.

"This is very important, because the survival rate of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in Singapore is low, at around 5 per cent," Mr Amrin said, referring to a 2015 figure.

House visits by Home Team officers are also conducted as part of SGSecure.

"These visits are currently focused on HDB estates, but we will progressively include private estates and condominiums," he said.

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