Instead of giving complicated verbal descriptions during emergencies, members of the public can now choose to livestream incidents to operators by dialling “999” or “995”.

Unfortunately though, it’s not through the fan-favourite app SGSecure. 

With the introduction of the Emergency Video System, officers at their respective Operation Centres can now initiate live video streaming from the caller’s mobile phone to aid in situational assessment and decision-making.

Here’s all you need to know.

How Does It Work?

In an emergency, officers from the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) will activate the Emergency Video System, in which the caller, in a safe location, will give the operator consent to start a video stream.

An SMS will be sent to the caller, containing a hyperlink that can be used to stream live footage of the incident. This can be done without the need to install new applications. The system will also transmit the caller’s location to the Operations Centre, facilitating an emergency response by frontliners. 

Through the system, callers will be able to share their real-time location with SPF and SCDF officers, aiding in the subsequent emergency response. This is helpful if the situation is happening on an unknown road that you can’t identify—just hope that there’s service there. 

Callers should stay on the call during the livestream to communicate with officers.

A button can also be used to end the session on the caller’s phone. 

Here’s a video by the SCDF introducing it:

Development Of The Technology

The technology was thought up by officers at the POCC and SCDF Operation Centres when they realised that difficulties often arose in trying to understand incidents verbally, particularly for complex situations in which the caller may not be able to communicate the extent of the problem.

Through a joint effort between SPF, SCDF, Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX), and ST Engineering, the Emergency Video System will be used at the Police Operations Command Centre and the Singapore Civil Defence Force Operations Centre.

In a media fact sheet jointly released by the agencies on 20 March, they noted that the system enhances the Home Team’s emergency call response by allowing officers at the SPF and SCDF operations centres to initiate live video streaming from the caller’s mobile phone, assisting in situational assessment and decision making.

The SPF can use the technology in situations like public fights, security incidents, and crime scenes. SCDF will be able to make use of it during road traffic or rescue incidents, or medical emergencies where the caller cannot ascertain a patient’s condition. 

The stream can be shared between the two operation centres in major emergencies, like major fires, involving both organisations. 

When asked by reporters whether the footage would be admissible in court, SPF and SCDF said the videos “will be stored and may be produced in court as evidence when necessary or upon request by the Public Prosecutor”.

Usually, sound and video recordings are considered admissible in court, which means that they can be used as evidence to support a case.

“The Emergency Video System capability leverages readily 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 fact sheet.

According to them, this will greatly assist in assessing situations, and therefore decision-making of SPF and SCDF operation centres and frontline responders.

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