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Photo fromStraitsTimes

Neighbourhood Police Posts grow to be fully automated

Over the past two years, Neighbourhood Police Posts (NPPs) have leaned towards becoming fully automated in order to firstly, providing around-the-clock access to residents, and secondly, increasingly free up police officers from their desk-bound duties.

As of now, there are currently nine redesigned and revamped NPPs that provide self-service features, such as an e-kiosk with a touchscreen terminal to allow members of the public to report a crime and apply for police documents, among other things.

This is up from the initial three fully automated NPPs in West Coast, Radin Mas and Marsiling, which were announced as a six-month pilot in December 2013. There are currently 62 NPPs islandwide.

The newly redesigned NPPs are in Bishan, Boon Lay, Nee Soon South, Pasir Panjang, Siglap and Tanjong Pagar.

Of these, four NPPs also provide ATM and AXS machines.

Apart from the self-service features, members of the public can speak to a police officer stationed at the nearest Neighbourhood Police Centre via video conferencing should they need more help. There are also automated drop-boxes for lost-and-found property, as well as interactive tablets with various apps from government agencies and crime prevention advisories, available to the public.

One of the aims of the Community Policing System (COPS) rolled out in 2012 was to tap technology so that the police can free up manpower to better serve the community where officers can be redeployed from desk-bound duties.

With regards to the choice of locations, the police said the decision was based on the “demographics of the neighbourhood to allow the police to test the effectiveness in serving both the younger and older users”.

Member of Parliament (MP) Lee Bee Wah of Nee Soon GRC noted to local media, that resident feedback on the revamped Nee Soon South NPP has been positive so far. She noted that police patrolling had been stepped up, with more police presence in the HDB estates. The meeting rooms within the police post also provide more space for grassroots leaders and residents to use the facilities.

There is concern that the older generation might find it hard it use the automated interface. A resident has suggested that teaching of how to use the machines would likely be valued.

Going forward, there will probably be more e-platforms for the public to report a crime as the police continue to leverage technology, said the police, who will continue to evaluate the feedback received on the redesigned NPPs, to see how the delivery of such services to the public can be improved.