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Crime-fighting goes high tech with tablet computers

The tablets come with crime prevention materials such as videos and advisories. (PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE)

Publication Date : 26-06-2012


The police are arming a group of community policing officers with tablet computers to help in the fight against crime.

Their counterparts in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) are also doing the same, to enhance training at its academy.

The police officers' mobile devices will assist the cops in educating the community while on their patrols, reduce the time spent on administrative work, as well as improve work-life balance, said the police in a statement yesterday.

The tablet computer trial involves about 35 officers from the community policing units of Tampines and Bukit Merah East Neighbourhood Police Centres (NPC). Officers in the unit, which was formed last month as part of the new community policing system, conduct foot and bicycle patrols to engage the community more actively.

The tablets issued to them come pre-loaded with crime prevention materials in the form of videos, posters and advisories, which officers can share with the public while on their patrols. They will also be in different languages and include a translation tool to assist officers when interacting with people who may not speak English.

Community policing officers must record the activities undertaken during their patrols, and currently manually collate and share them with team members after the end of each shift.

The tablets will now allow them to update and share this information automatically, reducing time spent on such tasks. A police spokesman said this means officers can focus on their core duties, allowing them to leave work earlier and have more time with their friends and family members.The SCDF is also hoping to tap the mobile technology for use at the Civil Defence Academy.

A spokesman told The Straits Times yesterday that the tablets, expected to be rolled out by next month, will allow instructors and course candidates to download course materials and participate in online discussions while on the move.

Information on the tablets' screens can also be projected wirelessly to projector screens in the classroom for group discussions, he added.

The police said an interim assessment of the usefulness of the tablets as a community policing tool will be conducted after one month.

Feedback will be sought from officers on whether the tablets have been useful. The tablets' functions may also be tweaked to be more effective and if the results are positive, tablets may be issued to all community policing officers.The police and SCDF are the latest uniformed services to make use of tablet computers.

Last year, the Singapore Armed Forces handed out about 8,000 tablets to recruits going through Basic Military Training as well as to those in other institutes such as the Officer Cadet School.

A Defence Ministry spokesman said at the time that tablet computers allow servicemen to acquire theoretical knowledge and skills at their own pace, leaving more time for practical training.


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