DAC (NS) Chua Song Heng helps SPF come up with innovative solutions to fight crime.

Having served as a National Serviceman in SPF for more than 30 years, it was a natural fit for DAC (NS) Chua Song Heng to join its Police Technology Department (PTD) after leaving his former company, Philips Electronics, two years ago.

“In the private sector, you use your skills to help the company generate dollars and cents. Now I’m using my expertise in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to help keep Singapore safe, which is more meaningful,” says the 55-year-old.

Chua’s current role as an enterprise architect involves designing the architecture of ICT solutions for SPF. These include police surveillance cameras, mobile apps and e-services that enable citizens to lodge a non-urgent police report online without having to visit the police station.

Our recent deployment of police cameras in areas such as lift landings have helped to reduce loan-shark harassment cases and deter crime. It also gave the public a greater assurance of safety.

As technology becomes increasingly important in fighting crime, especially with the growing threat of terrorism, the PTD continues to explore new capabilities to help officers do more with less.

“We recently designed police smartphones that allow officers to respond faster and more effectively to incidents. The smartphone includes SPF applications that will aid in decision-making across all frontline functions as well as fulfil administrative and training functions. For example, officers are able to access the SPF knowledge management database and refer to standard operating procedures and policies en route to incidents or during their off-time to refresh their memory,” he explains.

Other new technological developments include an autonomous patrol robot equipped with background sensors to help in patrolling duties and provide live video feed to command posts.

With the growing prevalence of cyber crime and trans-border crime such as online scams, Chua says that being part of the police force today is a far cry from what it was in the 80s, when he first enlisted as an NSman.

“Back then, we were more involved in handling cases such as domestic disputes, fights and house burglaries,” he says. Chua recalls handling a gang fight that broke out in Tampines, which coincidentally occurred at the coffee shop that he frequently patronised with his family. “It dawned on me that violent crime can happen anywhere and potentially affect your loved ones at any time.”

CALL OF DUTY

Having fostered close friendships within SPF over the years, Chua extended his NS service twice – most recently in 2018. Thus he did not hesitate when he was asked to chair the Reunion @ Old Police Academy organising committee in 2017, as part of the NS50 celebrations.

The old academy holds a lot of fond memories for us, and it took us nine months to organise the one-day event to bring the officers and their families back for a visit.

Helping new officers is also something that brings him satisfaction, as an NSPI (National Service Probationary Inspector) mentor. “The two years spent in NS is an opportunity to pick up valuable life skills that will give NSmen an edge when they start working,” he says. “I encourage them to broaden their capabilities based on their interests and skills. For instance, those with a computing background can learn how to develop an app.”

Chua was also involved in the transformation of HomeTeamNS clubhouses for members and their families to enjoy leisure and social activities in a more lively and interactive environment. “The newly revamped clubhouse at Bukit Batok now has a spa and enrichment facilities for our spouses and kids while we enjoy a beer with our buddies,” he says.

Despite his packed schedule, the busy professional still finds time to take part in shooting matches at the National Shooting Centre. “Shooting offers me stress relief as I can block out other thoughts and just focus on hitting the target,” he laughs.

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