POLICE troopers will soon get something that is orange and black, leaves a mark and makes people shed tears.
Called the P4.1, it resembles a rifle and fires projectiles filled with an irritant similar to tear gas. It also has paint to mark rioters.
Effective but not lethal, it allows troopers to tackle violent public disorders without compromising public safety or causing unnecessary injuries.
The P4.1 was one of the gadgets and innovations unveiled at the annual Police Workplan Seminar and Exhibition at the Home Team Academy yesterday.
Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean, who was the guest of honour at the event, said the police had done well last year and that he was glad they were looking to improve in three areas.
These were "making strong partnerships and taking community partnerships to the next level, making the best use of the potential of our officers, and making good use of technology".
Assistant Commissioner of Police Teo Chun Ching, director of planning and organisation, said these initiatives will allow the police to remain relevant in their fight against crime.
Under one initiative, front-line police officers at Ang Mo Kio North Neighbourhood Police Centre will try a new load-bearing vest from June. Officers can carry standard patrol equipment such as a taser and communication set on the 900g vest, instead of placing all on the utility belt.
This gives police officers "greater mobility" and allows them to carry more equipment during emergencies, said AC Teo. Officers will also get to try a new uniform that allows faster evaporation of perspiration.
The trial for both the vest and the uniform will run for six weeks.
Meanwhile, community policing officers at Jurong East and Sengkang neighbourhood police centres will be using electric unicycles that can go up to 18kmh as part of a trial until July. Officers will be able to cover more areas using them compared with patrolling on foot.
The electric unicycles are also easier to manoeuvre in narrow lanes than bicycles.
The police are also exploring the use of drones during public disorders. These are equipped with sirens and blinkers to deter rioters, and cameras to record the events.
Another new initiative is to install police vans with equipment to test for drunken drivers.
Currently, the Traffic Police (TP) use handheld breathalysers during anti-drink-driving road blocks. But they aim to carry out more accurate tests on site, using breath evidential analysers in police vans.
To boost police presence, police vehicles, including fast response cars and TP motorbikes are getting a new look from August. The designs feature a new Singapore Police Force crest and red and blue chevron patterns.
MP Alvin Yeo, a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Home Affairs and Law, welcomed the initiatives. He said: "It's good that the police are updating their equipment and tactics. The Little India riot serves as a reminder that such public disorder incidents can happen.
This article was first published on April 25, 2015.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.