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

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.