Singapore police to get new cameras, drones, guns and training bots

A police officer fires his Taser at the Mobile Taser Training Target, a training bot, on June 18, 2021. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Police Force (SPF) will be getting a tech boost in the coming months to help with front-line policing, training, surveillance and community outreach.

The roll-out will include more police cameras, drones and training bots.

Unveiling this during the annual Police Workplan Seminar on Tuesday (June 22), the Singapore Police Force (SPF) said that more than 90,000 police cameras have already been installed and have been used to solve more than 5,000 cases.

More cameras will be installed at new public housing blocks, hawker centres and transport nodes.

The cameras installed at town and neighbourhood centres will be equipped with video analytic capabilities, which can automatically detect unexpected crowds and violent behaviour.

The SPF also intends to deploy more remote drones. These drones, which were trialled in industrial estates in western Singapore last year, will be used in surveillance, patrols and remote viewing of incidents.

Police officers will also be getting new guns and body-worn cameras.

The Taurus M85 revolver used by the officers will be replaced by the Glock 19 Gen 5 pistol, which carries three times more rounds.

All front-line regulars will be trained to use the new weapon by the end of 2023.

Their body-worn cameras will be replaced with a newer version that has a longer battery life of 13 hours, compared with the current 2.5 hours.

The new cameras, to be rolled out by the end of this year, will be able to record in full high-definition, live-stream video and audio to the Police Operations Command Centre, and wipe out data remotely.

In his speech to the SPF during the Police Workplan Seminar, Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam praised the force for its commitment during the pandemic.

He cited a recent poll by the Institute of Policy Studies conducted last year that showed public confidence in the SPF was high, with 87 per cent of respondents saying they were confident or very confident in the police.

"We have to maintain this high level of public confidence, which is not an easy task, given the challenges faced by SPF and the Home Team in general," he said.

He added that to deal with these challenges, more officers will be trained in counter-terrorism tactics and response, and will also deepen their expertise in cybercrime and financial crime.

Police trainees may soon get to work with two new remote-controlled bots developed with the Home Team Science and Technology Agency.

The first is a Mobile Taser Training Target (MTTT), which will begin a three-month trial from next month. The manikin on wheels will replace the human role-player during Taser training, reducing the risk of injury.

Police trainees enact a scene of dispute with a Mobile Taser Training Target on June 18, 2021. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

The MTTT is able to analyse where the Taser probes land and how far apart they are. Such feedback will help improve training, said the SPF.

Another bot, the Force-On-Robotic Target (Fort), will be used as part of the new Live Instrumentation Training System (Lits).

Lits makes use of laser in tactical training and will begin a three-month trial from December at the Home Team Academy in Choa Chu Kang.

Police trainees demonstrate tactical moves against the remote-controlled Force-On-Robotic Target bot on June 18, 2021. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

The Fort, also a manikin on wheels, uses a laser system to detect how fast and accurately shots are fired at it. This information can then be used to evaluate and improve the tactical skills of trainees.

Mr Shanmugam noted that MTTT and Lits will help sharpen the skills of officers and build their confidence in tactical response.

He said the SPF has to maintain high standards of operational excellence and protect its reputation as a professional and impartial force.

"We must give our very best in fighting crime, protecting the public. And in doing so, we have to remain absolutely impartial in carrying out our duties, regardless of race, religion, wealth, social status, affiliation," he said.

"I take this opportunity to thank all SPF officers, past and present, for your sacrifices and commitment. We are confident that SPF will continue to keep Singapore safe and secure, for many more generations."

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