MHA sharpens its focus on using technology solutions to address security challenges

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on 8 May 2018 that it will continue to leverage technology and  digital solutions to transform the Home Team for greater operational readiness and effectiveness, and strengthen its engagement with the community and international partners.

During her address to open the second session of the 13th Parliament, President Halimah Yacob warned against the threat of terrorism and asserted the need to steadily build up the capabilities of the Home Team.

In its addendum to the President’s address, the MHA reiterated the challenges posed by terrorism, criminal syndicates, and manpower constraints.

Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs, said that the Ministry will leverage emerging technology for operations to take transformative steps to enhance the Home Team’s effectiveness. He also outlined a plan to make a strong push in digital transformation and robotics.

Chief among these enhancements will be the new Home Team Operations Centre which aims to employ new technologies and harness data to deliver swift and co-ordinated responses to incidents. Furthermore, the island-wide network of cameras and sensors will be further integrated to enhance sense-making and aid the Home Team to identify and deal effectively with security threats and criminal activities.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) will continue to integrate robotics, like the use of exo-skeletons, into its operations to improve the safety and capabilities of fire-fighters. The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will look to employ more biometric solutions to tighten border security and implement automated clearance for cars to facilitate more efficient immigration clearance.

MHA is also exploring avenues to digitalise the Police investigation process and the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) will trial the use of automation for urine testing. Business intelligence tools will be introduced to the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) to automate routine work, and video analytics will be used for supervision of inmates. The Ministry hopes that these initiatives will enable officers to perform more complex and higher value-added tasks, and increse their productivity and effectiveness.

Digitisation on the service delivery front is also underway to boost the convenience of e-services and platforms. ICA has developed the MyICA web portal which allows access to a full range of e-services with a single login. The Police Hub has also been established as a one-stop portal for the public to lodge reports, provide feedback, and check on transactions.

The MHA also hopes to leverage digital technology to build and maintain strong community networks. The SGSecure app, a priority initiative in this area, has already raised public awareness and will further aim to enhance the community’s preparedness to respond to threats.

These initiatives will complement the MHA’s previous efforts to create a tech-enabled ecosystem for the Home Team and affirms the need to increase the role of science and technology in the safety and security of Singapore.

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