By carefully understanding and studying the physical and mental needs of Home Team Academy’s officers in their work environments, The Ministry of Home Affairs recently launched a new high-tech test facility called the Human Performance Centre. This facility focuses on developing analytics for surveillance, such as algorithms in Closed-Circuit television (CCTV) cameras to detect and flag suspicious behaviour and activities.
The opening of this facility is a key milestone in the Home Team’s (HT) transformational journey to optimise work processes, operational systems and performance of HT officers through the application of Human Factors (HF) in Training and Operations.
The HPC enables the HT to plan and evaluate new equipment, systems and work methods vis-a-vis the “humanistic” needs of our HT officers. For example, ergonomic design, thermal comfort and safety features were considered in the design of the uniforms worn by Traffic Police officers.
The systems and equipments are so designed to ensure that the employees perform their best, by helping them manage fatigue and having customised uniforms for example. The centre houses a virtual-reality technology suite to develop simulated training scenarios.
Spanning 180sq.mtr, the size of two four-room public housing homes, the facility was launched yesterday by Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam. Addressing the audiences present at the launch, Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam said, ““In the face of declining manpower and increasing demands, technology becomes vital. This centre focuses on the most central element in Home Team — our Home Team officers. What it does is analyse how they perform their duties, the equipment they have, the uniform they wear, (and) the kind of situation they’ll be in.”
The facility will also look at using virtual reality to enhance training, while allowing an officer “dexterously control” an unmanned system in a virtual environment. On the topic of surveillance, there is a need to develop analytics for CCTV cameras or locate an abandoned bag, such as details of its colour and logo. The technology could even trace the owner of the bag and the time it was abandoned.
The flow of information to the command centres and back can also be compiled and displayed in a “digestible format” on dashboards to aid awareness about the situation. The newly formed HPC would focus on four key areas namely: (i) Smart Surveillance; (ii) Virtual Reality for Training; (iii) Human Centricity for Network Enabled Operations; and (iv) Workload, Fatigue and Vigilance.
The Human Centricity Suite is an experimentation platform to study human-systems relationships while taking into account factors such as officers’ degree of situational awareness, workload, decision-making skills and the level of team performance. These studies help identify bottlenecks in the design of systems to optimise performance.
Also use of Cognitive Task Analysis methods to identify critical operational needs; application of simulation technology to create realistic interactions; and the utilisation of the HF Evaluation System to record the officer’s physiological reactions in response to simulated events to gauge stress. The analysis of these data will provide critical insights into the effectiveness of the systems and processes and necessary enhancements to achieve optimal operational performance.