SINGAPORE: As of end 2017, video footage from police cameras has helped solve more than 2,300 cases, said Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Parliamentary Secretary Amrin Amin in Parliament on Tuesday (Feb 6).
The first wave of cameras, known as PolCam 1.0, saw 65,000 cameras installed in neighbourhoods from 2012. PolCam 2.0 was introduced in mid-2016 and as of last year, 5,000 cameras have been installed in town centres, neighbourhood centres, hawker centres and linkways leading to transportation nodes such as MRT stations and bus interchanges.
The plan for is to install 11,000 cameras at 2,500 locations islandwide over the next few years, said Mr Amrin.
“Our approach has broad support from the public, and has resulted in people feeling safe,” he added. “Public confidence and trust in the police remains high. In a perception survey conducted in 2016 by the police, about 95 per cent of respondents feel safe in their neighbourhoods and trust the Singapore Police Force (SPF) as an organisation.”
“Among the survey respondents who felt safer, than before, the installation of police cameras in the estates was one of the top factors contributing to their perception that their neighbourhood is safer.”
Mr Amrin also noted the strict protocols in place over privacy concerns raised by Member of Parliament Pritam Singh.
“SPF has data protection safeguards and controls on the use of Police camera footage. The footage is securely stored, and only authorised persons are allowed to access them. Any officer found accessing the footage for unauthorised purposes will be severely dealt with,” he explained.
“Audits are conducted on a regular basis … as and when there are irregularities; as and when the need requires, we will do checks.”
PolCam 2.0 includes cameras which are designed to detect anomalous events such as persons fighting and sudden congregation or dispersal of crowds. The system will then alert police operators, and resources can be dispatched if necessary. It can also identify suspects and allow officers to quickly search for images to facilitate investigations.
“Police cameras in general, have proven to be very useful in helping the police deter and solve crimes, 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. The police will continue to install more cameras.”