Police to have new Combined Operations room and C3 system by year end
The government has accepted all eight recommendations made by the Committee of Inquiry on the Little India Riot.
The December 8th riot is the worst public order incident in Singapore in over forty years.
It erupted after a fatal accident involving Indian National Sakthivel Kumaravelu.
Speaking in Parliament, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who's also Home Affairs Minister, laid out what his ministry has done, post-riot, and measures to be put in place, to meet the COI's recommendations.
The strategy is three pronged - to facilitate faster detection of public disorder, to respond faster if an incident breaks, and to try and prevent similar incidents from happening in future.
Mr Teo says first, the police's Command, Control and Communications or C3 capabilities will be upgraded.
He says work on this started several years ago.
With the new system, targeted to enter service at the end of the year, officers at the frontline will have access to more advanced communications, imaging and mobile computing technology, through mobile devices.
A new Combined Operations Room will also start operating by the end of the year.
"It will be equipped with tools to track the deployment of police resources, as well as dashboards and information management systems for improved awareness of the ground situation."
Mr Teo adds that they're currently studying how the Combined Operations Room can make use of publicly posted messages and images on social media, to gather information on developing public order incidents.
Second, 300 officers will be added to the Special Operations Command team within the police force over the next two to three years.
This will double the number of deployable front-line officers.
"We need such a specially trained and equipped force to deal with large-scale public order incidents and the heightened terrorism threat, as well as to manage more mass events that require high-level security."
The police will also continue to attract and retain good officers.
Besides increasing manpower, the police have also been using improved deployment strategies and investing in technology.
Mr Teo says that the more than 18 thousand police cameras installed at void decks and multi-storey car parks have been effective in deterring crime.
And by 2016, all 10 thousand HDB blocks will have police cameras.
Third, Mr Teo says the police have also streamlined the process of activating the Special Operations Command team.
Division Commanders can now activate the first Special Operation Command troop while alerting the police headquarters simultaneously.
The traffic police will also be activated to facilitate the team's movement to the incident location.
Fourth, he says that the training and equipping of police officers will be reviewed.
And lastly, the police and the Singapore Civil Defence Force will continue to build on their ability to respond to public order situations, in a concerted and coordinated fashion through joint standard operating procedures.
-By Valerie Koh.
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