Police to get more 'eyes' with video feeds from cars

Police to get more 'eyes' with video feeds from cars

The police will install up to 570 units of in-vehicle video recording systems in their vehicles, including their motorcycles and all fast-response cars. This new technology is meant to improve the police's surveillance, and provide more effective support to operations.

The Ministry of Home Affairs called for a tender last month for the video systems, which will include cameras with a recording function and wireless transmission devices.

Installation is expected to start in the second half of this year. A police spokesman said the system will enable live video feeds to be streamed from the site of an incident to officers in the operations room and command post. The footage will also help post-incident investigations.

She said:"The cameras will help front-line officers to take enforcement action against errant drivers, and record evidence that may be helpful to investigations into crime."

At least two cameras will be fitted in a vehicle to provide colour video footage of the front and back surrounding view. Some vehicles will have side cameras too.

The tender specifications call for cameras that must be able to clearly capture an object of interest - such as a vehicle plate number - up to 5m away in both day and night conditions. Besides live streaming, there will also be a wireless video uploading and storage function within the system. The idea of an in-vehicle video recording system was mooted in May last year during the annual Police Workplan Seminar.

Last June, the Little India riot Committee of Inquiry also called for better technological capabilities for the Home Team to see what was happening on the ground. The police launched a pilot project last June, and finished installing video systems in 70 police vehicles the next month. Findings from the pilot were used to refine the functional specifications of the cameras, said the police spokesman.

Security expert Rohan Gunaratna said the system will allow officers to respond more quickly and decisively to situations.

"Officers in the operations room will be able to provide better support and assistance as they are more informed of the security situation on the ground," said the professor of security studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

Said MP Hri Kumar Nair, who chairs the Government Parliamentary Committee for Home Affairs and Law: "Having live video feeds will enable the police to better appreciate situations and deploy their resources. The video will also narrow disputes, and enable more accurate and fairer outcomes in investigations."


This article was first published on January 14, 2015.
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