Singapore Police Force
10 Months, Completed in March 2015
THE CHALLENGE |
Since 2013, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) began implementing automated self-help services in their Neighbourhood Police Posts (NPPs) with the goal to better serve members of public, and to divert manpower resources so that more officers can be deployed on the ground to actively respond to crime scenes and criminal cases. While automated NPPs helped address the manpower crunch, SPF was uncertain that they were successful in improving services from the perspective of the public, evidenced by feedback from various communities.
In response to this, the SPF tasked us to help rethink services and operations in automated NPPs to better address the following issues:
– Adapting and catching the wave of the Digital Age
– Keeping up with changing social needs and trends
– Increased pressures on officers due to expanding population
THE PROCESS |
I led ethnographic research studies involving designers and students from architecture, interior design and business innovation backgrounds. We conducted observational studies and in-depth user interviews with residents in different neighbourhoods of Singapore and discovered their pain points and unmet needs with respect to police services at their local NPP.
“When I first stepped in, I felt really lost. Like all I see were different technologically advanced services but no instructions on how to use it until I really want to use it.”
GAP BETWEEN SPF & RESIDENTS
The shutter is closed at the Bishan NPP because it is undergoing renovations for the new transformation. However, some residents perceive that officers are not around the neighbourhood anymore. Hence, having a physical space does not translate into having a presence in the community and the SPF has therefore to reach out to the community more actively.
“… last time, there were policemen inside and then I will come in, say hello or chit chat for a while. But now, I don’t see them at all.”
GAP BETWEEN GENERATIONS
An elderly person was observed having difficulty opening the glass door at the West Coast NPP which was newly revamped as part of SPFs’ unmanned initiative. It is evident that small changes such as an automated glass door can make a big difference to an individual’s interaction with the SPF. To an elderly person, the NPP was a talking point and a place to find out about happenings in the neighbourhood from officers in a physical space. In this transformation, the needs of residents regardless of their age, physical abilities or technological knowledge, must be considered. This is to be as inclusive as possible and not leave anyone behind.
THE VISION |
Grounded by the needs of the residents, and considering both the voices from the officers on the ground and the management’s direction, we created a shared vision for community-based policing.
ENVISIONING NPP AS A PLACE FOR…
ACCESS TO ONE-STOP GOVERNMENT SERVICES & EFFICIENT SELF-HELP
The revamped NPP is envisioned as a place in the neighbourhood that provides access to one-stop government services.
CRIME PREVENTION & SAFETY
It will also continue to be a hub in the neighbourhood that disseminates information about crime prevention and safety.
BONDING & COLLABORATION
The future NPP will possibly not only maintain, but further strengthen the relationship between SPF and the community. It should strive to sustain the Kampong spirit built since the old days, through services and events that advocate bonding and collaboration between SPF, residents, and other government agencies.
After the research phase, I planned and executed a series of co-creation workshop sessions involving 30 police officers from various departments. I used these sessions to share the research findings and to probe participants to help collectively envision the future of neighbourhood policing.
From this shared vision, we were able to articulate the design requirements that anchored the design process, helping to translate the new vision into meaningful products, services, and spaces for future NPPs.
THE OUTCOME |
We created a design guideline that articulated the ideal user experience that encompasses 18 touch points spread across 4 different service zones of the NPP space: Police Zone, Open Entrance, Selp-Help Services Zone, and Community Zone.
This space should be effective and efficient for SPF officers to perform their duties. Needs identified through the design process were:
Conducive rest and recharge point
Labour-saving arrangement for housekeeping duties
Home-base environment to enhance sense of belonging and pride
Strong visibility and welcoming presence of NPP in the neighbourhood.
Attracting residents to step into the NPP is crucial. Hence, the entrance is deliberately kept open to achieve a welcoming ambience.
The heavy use of glass elicits a more natural and transparent feel that aims to encourage people to pause as they walk by or to come in to find out more.
The space aims first to attract residents who use common services such as the vending machine or ATM. The provision of these essential services can help drive traffic into the NPP and eventually residents can discover more about core NPP services.
SELF-HELP SERVICES ZONE
Provide intuitive, efficient and user-friendly reporting and government services that are accessible for all.
As users walk into the Self-Help Services Zone with 24/7 access, they will have clear instructions on the usage of the space. At the same time the space should also provide privacy for users operating the kiosks. The layout of the zone also minimizes housekeeping duties for SPF officers.
Place of bonding and collaboration between SPF, the community, and other government and private organisations.
Together with the 18 design touchpoints, it was critical to provide opportunities for bonding and building trust between residents and officers so that the facilities and services can be highly utilized, appreciated and sustainable in the long term. To aid in this, we conceptualized an online community portal to promote programmes and events for crime prevention, and to help residents take ownership and lead community-initiated events.
For the People
Announce the presence of revamped NPP
Engage and reach out to the community
Upon completion of the revamped NPP, SPF can run programmes or activities that support crime prevention
The revamped NPP is envisioned to expand its scope of services beyond its
existing functions through partnerships with relevant government agencies.
With the People
Bring in services that are appealing to the residents
Deepen the relationship between SPF, partners, and the community
After the completion of events, residents can provide feedback on the website. This experience will strengthen the relationship between SPF, the partners and the community.
In the initial stages, the SPF needs to spearhead events to advocate crime prevention and safety in order for residents to see benefits that come with the revamped NPP.
By the People
Get residents to take ownership and lead
We anticipate that relevant government agencies can form meaningful partnerships with the SPF to provide services that ultimately serve the community better. When the NPP matures operationally at a later stage, SPF can then take further steps in engaging the community by allowing them to propose or create events, vote for events, and run their own events.
Place for bonding and trust building
Over time, we hope to cultivate a sense of ownership amongst residents for the NPP, and eventually the SPF as well, to make all neighbourhoods in Singapore a better, safer, and bonded place.
Ultimately, we hope that NPP will become a vibrant hub in the neighbourhood that is co-owned by SPF, their partners, and the community in the neighbourhood.
The design guideline now serves as a toolkit for the SPF team to apply to 63 Neighbourhood Police Post locations across Singapore and will play an integral role in the service transformation plans in the next 3-5 years.