23 January 2019

You Can Run But You Cannot Hide

SPF Logo

By Hadi Hafidz (Photos: Operations Department)


From smartphones to self-driven cars, the 21st century has evolved rapidly with countless technological innovations and advancements. Moving along with the times, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) has also been leveraging technology to enhance its operational effectiveness. Read on as Police Life shed light on how the SPF is leveraging thermal-imaging capability to complement its crime fighting work.



The SPF has been conducting ongoing trials on the use of drones to complement police operations. To further leverage the drone technology, the SPF has attached a thermal-imaging camera to a drone to enhance its capabilities to search for missing persons and detect suspects hidden in forested areas. There is no escape from its heat-detecting ability as any heat-emitting objects will appear as red silhouettes on a screen affixed to the drone controller.

Targeted Detection

To avoid the confusion of having a screen showing a sea of red due to the heat emission from a range of heat-emitting sources, the thermal-imaging camera could be adjusted to detect a range of temperatures. For example, by adjusting the camera to detect a temperature of 36 degree Celsius, only humans, animals or objects of that temperature will appear as red silhouettes on the screen.



Since 2017, the SPF has been utilising such technology to assist in their ground operations such as raids and other enforcement actions. Most recently, the thermal-imaging camera was deployed during a five-day enforcement operation led by the SPF and supported by the Central Narcotics Bureau, Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, Singapore Civil Defence Force and Singapore Customs.



On 24 October 2018, officers from the various agencies acting on intelligence raided an area of thick vegetation surrounding the Bukit Timah Expressway to search for illegal immigrants. The raid saw the arrest of five Indonesian men who were suspected to have committed immigration offences, and the seizure of a large number of contraband cigarettes.



“The technology complements our ground surveillance capability. It has supported us in various deployments such as the tracking of missing persons in forested areas and detection of potential criminal activity,” shared Superintendent of Police Audrey Ong, Head Operations of Jurong Division.

With the successful use of such technologies, the SPF is poised to enhance its operational effectiveness and efficiency to continue its mission of preventing, deterring and detecting crime.

Last Updated on 23 January 2019