Little India COI: Plan for police and SCDF to share live footage

With projectiles flying into the bus, SCDF officer Lieutenant Tiffany Neo shields bus driver Lee Kim Huat during her team's rescue of the embattled driver and timekeeper after the private bus had ran over an Indian national.

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) plans to share live footage captured by cameras on its vehicles with the police, as part of an information sharing initiative to help both agencies work better together during a crisis.

Lieutenant-Colonel Daniel Seet yesterday told the Committee of Inquiry into the Dec 8 riot that the SCDF operations centre at its Ubi headquarters had a live feed of what was happening on the ground during the unrest in Little India.

The footage was captured by a camera installed on the fire engine that was deployed to the scene, he said.

This, however, could not be directly transmitted to the police, said the commander of the 1st SCDF Division.

"So that night, it was picking up the phone and telling them what was being shown on our screen," he said.

Lt-Col Seet added that the rescue force is now looking into creating a technical link to share the live video feed with the police.

In the meantime, the police are also fast-tracking plans for new camera technology, which will be rolled out by this year.

"We are looking at putting cameras on vehicles and on the officers so that they don't have to call back or radio back to relate the information (of what is happening on the ground)," Deputy Commissioner of Police T. Raja Kumar told the committee last week.

This is aimed at resolving communication issues, such as jammed airwaves, that its ground officers encountered during the incident in Little India, he said.

Both Home Team agencies are also developing joint standard operating procedures to deal with civil disorder scenarios.

"Before, it was only for deliberate operations, such as in 2006 when we hosted the World Bank meeting," said Lt-Col Seet.

He said the SCDF will also be equipping ambulances with more helmets to give its paramedics more protection in the event of a civil unrest.

This was among a string of initiatives the force has planned following an after-action review in the aftermath of the riot.

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