Singapore

Coastal cameras crucial for Singapore's safety

Police Coast Guard have begun installing CCTV cameras since January

The Police Coast Guard (PCG) have begun installing surveillance cameras around Singapore since January as part of the Coastal Surveillance Camera System.

It is part of the PCG's efforts to enhance Singapore's coastal security, a police spokesman told The New Paper yesterday.

The cameras help to quickly spot intruders who try to sneak into Singapore via the sea.

A total of 314 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras will be put up around Singapore's shoreline and the network will be fully deployed by next year.

East Coast Park is one of the areas where the CCTV cameras have already been installed, Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao reported yesterday.

The cameras add to the multi-layered defence of the island's maritime borders, which is already watched over by advanced electro-optic cameras, radar systems and boat patrols.

STATISTICS

The latest Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) statistics show that fewer illegal immigrants and overstayers were nabbed last year, reflecting a downward trend in recent years, The Straits Times reported last month.

The number of illegal immigrants caught fell from 310 in 2015 to 217 last year.

The number of overstayers dropped from 1,591 to 1,061 during the same period.

The distance between the coast line and the outer boundaries of Singapore's territorial waters means criminals with high-speed motorboats can reach the Republic within minutes, making this option of illegal entry attractive.

Singapore Institute of Management's associate professor and head of management and security studies Antonio Rappa said the CCTV cameras along coastal areas will help enhance safety.

The PCG's advanced surveillance systems include new panoramic electro-optic sensors on the north and south coasts with a 360-degree view of its surroundings, radar systems, boat patrols and other measures.

Sharing that different cameras have different functions, Dr Rappa believes the cameras along the coastal areas play an important role, and can capture within a 1km to 1.5km radius.

But they might also have limits such as not being able to capture the dead ends, he said, adding that the police can use drones for patrolling instead.

Professor Rohan Gunaratna, head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, said there was a obvious increase in terrorism threats over the past two years.

In 2008, terrorists used a boat to land in Mumbai from Karachi in Pakistan, and attacked multiple sites across the Indian city.

The three-day siege killed 166 people and injured hundreds more.

Prof Rohan believes the cameras are an important move that will help Singapore deal with intruders.

He said: "All these security measures are introduced because of threats faced, therefore, more measures are necessary.

"Besides the CCTV cameras, the police should also increase land and sea patrol as you cannot depend solely on one measure alone. It needs to be multi-layered." - ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ELAINE LEE

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