Almost 90,000 police cameras have been installed at major public locations in Singapore, and “many more cameras” will be installed across the country, said Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam in Parliament on Monday (1 Mar).
Speaking at the Ministry of Home Affairs’ (MHA) Committee of Supply debate, Mr Shanmugam noted that police cameras had helped in solving over 4,900 cases as of December last year.
“Surveys have shown that people feel safer with prominent placement of police cameras in their neighbourhoods.
“In the next several years, I promise that many more cameras will be installed across the island, subject to the budgetary situation,” said the Minister.
Mr Shanmugam also highlighted other types of technological upgrades to sharpen the Singapore Police Force’s capabilities. These include deploying 300 next-generation Fast Response Cars (FRCs) by 2023.
These FRCs will be equipped with cameras that capture and provide 360-degree views of the vehicles’ surroundings to the police command centre, which will allow commanders to assess situations and deploy back-up when needed.
He added that the new vehicles will also have video analytics technology that can read the number plates of nearby vehicles and automatically flag vehicles of interest.
“So it will be surrounded by sensors, which will make people feel safer and more confident,” said Mr Shanmugam.
Police beacons will also be deployed to enable members of the public to contact the police directly during emergencies.
“They will also have CCTV cameras so situations can be assessed immediately, and they are particularly useful in more secluded locations,” he noted.
The Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX) will need to hire a few hundred scientists and engineers over the next few years to build a “critical mass” of experts in areas like digital and crime scene forensics, robotics and automation, said Mr Shanmugam.
“There are also other new developments that continue to drive up demand for the Home Team’s manpower,” he added.
Netizens question the point of having so many cameras when the footage cannot be retrieved when needed as proof
While most netizens agreed with having more police cameras in major public locations, some netizens pointed out that the police cameras footage will not even be attainable when needed.
Penning their thoughts under the comment section of Mothership’s Facebook post, a handful of netizens questioned the point of installing police cameras when the footage cannot be retrieved as proof for police reports.
Others pointed out that the police are still unable to track an offender even though the area is under high surveillance.