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PolCam’s Role in Singapore’s Safety Network

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The Police Operations Command Centre (POCC) stands as a crucial hub supporting the frontline operations of the Singapore Police Force (SPF). A key player in the POCC’s effectiveness is the Police Camera (PolCam) system, a technological marvel that has become instrumental in real-time incident management and situational awareness.

Image credit: police.gov.sg

Since its launch in April 2012, PolCam has aided in the resolution of over 7,500 crime cases and significantly contributed to the overall safety of neighbourhoods. With more than 90,000 PolCams strategically positioned across the island in public areas, the system has not only proven its worth in solving crimes but has also heightened the capabilities of the POCC in managing incidents as they unfold.

The SPF, recognising the transformative impact of PolCam, envisions an expansive future for this technology. Plans are underway to broaden PolCam coverage, with an ambitious target of deploying over 200,000 cameras by the mid-2030s. This strategic expansion aims to ensure comprehensive coverage, particularly in new housing areas and residential estates, reinforcing Singapore’s commitment to maintaining a safe and secure environment.

Behind the scenes at the POCC, unsung heroes play a pivotal role in maximising the potential of the PolCam system. Enter the Assistant Watch Officers (AWOs), Full-time Police National Service officers who serve as the vigilant eyes and ears of the SPF. Tasked with monitoring real-time and recorded footage on the PolCam system, AWOs engage in what they term ‘virtual patrolling.’

Special Constable Sergeant Abdul Raafiq sheds light on the AWOs’ responsibilities, stating, “We use PolCam to conduct ‘virtual patrolling’ by trawling through live footage to search for any suspicious activities, persons, or commotion. If we spot something concerning, we’ll alert our Watch Officers to dispatch officers to the location.” Their role is pivotal in maintaining constant vigilance and swift response to emerging situations.

Beyond monitoring the PolCam system, AWOs harness video analytics to provide invaluable support to Police operations. Their keen eyes and swift responses are essential in managing emergencies and combating crime effectively. The AWOs’ dedication to their roles as guardians of public safety is evident in their continuous efforts to stay vigilant and responsive in the ever-evolving landscape of law enforcement.

Digital technology serves a pivotal role in the augmentation of the PolCam system, significantly enhancing crime prevention efforts through advanced surveillance and real-time monitoring. The integration of high-resolution cameras, smart sensors, and real-time analytics empowers the PolCam system to monitor public spaces with precision, identifying potential threats and facilitating rapid responses to emerging situations.

The utilisation of sophisticated data analytics algorithms is a cornerstone of the digital approach, enabling law enforcement to analyse patterns and trends in criminal activities. This data-driven strategy supports predictive policing, allowing authorities to anticipate and prevent crimes before they occur. The real-time monitoring capabilities of the PolCam system are further bolstered by automated alerts triggered by predefined criteria, such as unusual activities or suspicious behaviours.

Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies play a crucial role in expanding the coverage of the PolCam system. AI algorithms automate the analysis of vast amounts of video data, detecting anomalies, recognising objects or persons of interest, and tracking them across multiple camera feeds. This integration significantly extends the reach and effectiveness of surveillance efforts.

Digital technology also enables remote accessibility to the PolCam system, allowing authorised personnel to view live feeds and archived footage from any location with internet connectivity. This capability enhances the flexibility and responsiveness of law enforcement operations. Cloud-based storage solutions for PolCam footage, facilitated by digital systems, ensure secure and scalable storage, enabling easy retrieval and sharing of critical information among law enforcement agencies.

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