SINGAPORE: Rather than merely describing an unfolding scene, members of the public can also now livestream certain incidents to operators when they dial “999” or “995”.
Officers from the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) will then communicate with the caller, while monitoring the livestream.
Developed by SPF, SCDF and the Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX) in collaboration with ST Engineering, the Emergency Video System will be operationalised at the Police Operations Command Centre and the Singapore Civil Defence Force Operations Centre.
In a media factsheet, SPF, SCDF and HTX said that the system “augments” the Home Team’s emergency call response by enabling SPF and SCDF officers at the respective operations centres to initiate live video streaming from the caller’s mobile phone to help with “situational assessment and decision-making”.
HOW IT WORKS
When a livestream is deemed to be useful for a “999” or “995” incident, the operations centre will initiate the activation of the Emergency Video System. After the caller gives the operator consent to activate the live video stream, an SMS with a hyperlink will be sent.
In response to queries from CNA, SPF and SCDF said that the hyperlink will expire once it has been tapped on, or after a short while if the caller does not tap on it.
“When the SMS with the hyperlink is sent to the caller, the caller can decline the activation of the live video streaming function. Should callers change their mind after agreeing to the activation of the video call, they may ignore the link in the SMS,” added SPF and SCDF.
“The caller may end the video by informing the operator on the line or tapping the on-screen button of his/her own mobile phone to end the session. The caller has to be on speaker phone or using an earpiece during the live video stream.”
The browser on the caller’s mobile phone will be used to stream live footage of the incident without the need to install any new applications, said the media factsheet. Simultaneously, the caller’s real-time location will be transmitted by the system to the operations centre to help with the subsequent emergency response.
The caller should remain on the call throughout the streaming of the video to allow officers to communicate verbally with them, while monitoring the livestream. During major emergencies which involve both agencies, the same livestream may be shared between both operations centres.
SPF and SCDF said that the live video stream will only be initiated when it is assessed that it is safe for the caller to do so.
They told CNA that some examples of scenarios where the SPF could request for the livestream include fighting in public, public order incidents, public security incidents, crime scenes. On the other hand, SCDF operators may initiate the live video stream for fires, road traffic accidents or rescue incidents, Hazardous Material (HAZMAT) incidents and medical incidents where caller is unable to describe a patient’s condition.
Both Police and SCDF operators may also initiate the live video stream for incidents at unclear locations, such as along expressways and unknown roads.
When asked if the footage could be admissible in court, SPF and SCDF told CNA that the videos “will be stored and may be produced in court as evidence when necessary or upon request by the Public Prosecutor”.
“The Emergency Video System capability leverages readily on available technology on mobile phones, allowing ‘999’ or ‘995’ callers to provide real-time location and visual information of the incident to the SPF and SCDF operation centres,” said SPF, SCDF and HTX in the factsheet.
“This capability will significantly enhance the situational assessment and decision-making of SPF and SCDF operation centres, as well as frontline responders.”