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Singapore police needs better technology, recommends Little India riot inquiry

The committee tasked to review last December’s Little India riot in Singapore recommended that the Singapore Police Force (SPF) invest in technology that will improve its communications, command and control capabilities.


“To improve overall command and control, the SPF Combined Operations Room and Division Operations Rooms, which are responsible for painting the overall operational picture for senior leadership, need to have better technological capabilities to see what is happening on the ground,” said the Committee of Inquiry, which submitted its recommendation on Sunday.

“This should include being able to leverage on all available video feeds, whether from closed-circuit cameras on the streets, SPF in-vehicle cameras, or body-worn cameras on officers, which SPF is now testing.”

The committee recommended the police get the tools that allow them to pull data from multiple sources, including social networks.

“Social media monitoring should also be a part of the centres’ capabilities. Where there is an absence of official footage, pictures and videos captured and uploaded by people in the area can be an additional data source.”

SPF should also look into upgrading its communications system for officers on the ground, said the committee.

“For instance, there may be a need to create a priority protocol for major operations, where the Incident Manager’s frequency is prioritised or can effect a ‘talk-through’ so that orders he issues can be heard by all officers and above other messages,” the report said.

“The radio sets also need to be upgraded such that officers are able to clearly hear and be heard on their sets even in very noisy situations, such as the night of the riot.”

The Committee was appointed by Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs, to review the cause of the riot. The incident, which involved close to 400 rioters, was the first in over 40 years.

The full report can be downloaded here.

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