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    Tech and order: Robots are coming for rule-breakers


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    The Kuala Lumpur police force is embracing advanced technology to enhance crime prevention and community policing. Police chief Comm Datuk Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain confirmed that the agency is exploring the use of robots to increase its presence in the city. “I think it’s high time that the police engaged technology, even basic technology, to facilitate policing and the community,” said Comm Mohd Shuhaily.

    As robots are already being utilized in the service industry, Comm Mohd Shuhaily believes that the public will quickly become accustomed to them. He suggested that community elements could be incorporated into the robots’ functions. “It’s not such a sophisticated thing because nowadays you see robots being used at nasi kandar restaurants too,” he added, referring to the robot servers at the Original Penang Kayu Nasi Kandar.

    In 2021, this restaurant introduced robotic servers as a contactless service measure to mitigate the transmission of Covid-19. The KL city police’s Crime Prevention and Community Safety Department head, Senior Asst Comm Beh Eng Lai, recently visited a robotic factory to explore potential applications of the technology.

    “The robots stationed at a mall will have to act differently from those at housing estates or airports, and all these have to be taken into consideration,” said Comm Mohd Shuhaily. Singapore has already conducted a five-year trial of patrol robots and plans to deploy more across the island. These robots were used at Changi Airport to assist frontline police officers with premise patrol.

    Equipped with cameras, sensors, speakers, display panels, blinkers, and a siren, they provide valuable support. They will help Singapore overcome manpower-related issues due to its small population and low birth rate. Meanwhile, Malaysia is preparing to integrate body-worn cameras into police operations.

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    The Home Minister, Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, plans to allocate RM30mil to acquire body-worn cameras, which will be fitted on officers across 157 district police headquarters nationwide. The United States is already using body cameras to record interactions with the public and gather video evidence. These cameras might also incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) technology in the future to ease reviewing and analyzing hours of footage.

    Additionally, the KL police force implemented the digital in-car radar and Intelligent Compound Online Payment System (iCOPS) in 2015 for road safety operations. iCOPS uses Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to identify traffic users with outstanding summonses, arrest warrants, and other offenses. It is currently fitted onto more than 40 police vehicles throughout the country.

    The digital in-car radar detects vehicles that exceed the speed limit. Last year, the police used these technologies for the first time during the Chinese New Year holiday period on highways and expressways. The integration of technology like robots, body-worn cameras, and AI systems is expected to revolutionize law enforcement and enhance public safety in Kuala Lumpur.

    Traffic police started using iCOPS as far back as 2017. — The StarTraffic police started using iCOPS as far back as 2017. — The Star

    Credit: The Star : Tech Feed

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