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Singapore trials beacons to bolster police operations

Police beacons equipped with video cameras, sirens, floodlights and speakers are being deployed at two parks to improve public safety in a year-long trial

The Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX) will start testing the use of police beacons this month to deter crime and improve public safety at two parks in the city-state.

Located at the Punggol Waterway Park and Sengkang Riverside Park in northeast Singapore, the police beacons will enhance police presence and increase accessibility to emergency services in secluded areas of the two parks.

Equipped with a closed-circuit TV camera, each police beacon will provide real-time footage of the locations under surveillance, enabling the police to assess live situations better and provide assistance rapidly.

The beacons are also fitted with blinkers, a siren, floodlights and speakers, all of which can be operated remotely, serving as an interim intervention to assist members of the public before police officers arrive.

Those in need of police assistance can also approach a beacon, which have motion detection lights that will turn on when it detects a person approaching. The lights will help to enhance public safety at night, especially in quiet locations.

If the year-long trial is successful, more police beacons could be deployed in parks and other public spaces.

“The police beacon is an integration of various technologies such as audio and live-video technologies, and sensors to enable the police to respond much faster to incidents at public spaces,” said Bernard Phang, director of the policing programme management centre.

“The police beacon acts as an additional node for the public to report incidents during emergencies at the press of a button and facilitates police intervention through remote activation. We look forward to continue working with the SPF to enhance the capability of the beacon.”

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Lian Ghim Hua, director of operations and senior assistant commissioner of police, said the beacon will enhance the sense of public safety and give the public better accessibility to the police, especially in an emergency.

“It will further improve the police’s operational effectiveness in deterring and responding to crime,” he said. “The police will continue to explore and adopt technology to enhance our capabilities to keep Singapore safe and secure.” 

The SPF has been a keen adopter of technology in its ongoing efforts to enhance police operations.

Amid the Covid-19 situation, for example, it deployed two autonomous robots at patient isolation facilities in migrant worker dormitories – which were worst hit by the pandemic in Singapore – to complement police officers on patrol and to project police presence.

It also deployed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, at two dormitories to conduct contactless patrol as well as aerial surveillance to detect crowds and trespasses.

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