Commissioner Khoo Boon Hui,
Commissioner James Tan,
Home Team Officers,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Tonight, 60 National Service (NS) Senior Officers from the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) will be receiving their certificates of promotion. Congratulations to all of you. On behalf of all Singaporeans, I thank all of you, Home Team Nsmen, for your efforts in keeping Singapore safe and secure.
2 It has been 37 years since National Service was first introduced in Singapore. Apart from building up a credible force to defend our nation, national service has strengthened our social fabric by bringing together Singaporeans from diverse social, ethnic and religious backgrounds. The importance of our NSmen is now even more telling, with the new imperative to keep Singapore safe and secure, day in and day out.
Recognising NSmen's contributions
3 The security situation in the world remains tense. We must be prepared to respond to any contingency swiftly and decisively. It is thus heartening to note that Home Team NSmen have contributed to our efforts at enhancing security.
4 Since the September 11 attacks, Police NSmen have been deployed for cluster patrols at various sensitive establishments, enhanced coastal patrols and also provided protection for key installations. The Police National Service Department has also taken command of all Key Installation (KINS) Protection Units and now oversees the training and deployment of these units as well. To further enhance the operational readiness of our KINS Units, two units, have since June, been placed on standby to respond to any contingency.
5 On its part, the SCDF has restructured its NS Units to improve operational capabilities. It has trimmed a 23,000-strong NS Units to a younger, fitter and better-trained 10,000-strong NS Unit. CD Nsmen are now assigned for peacetime deployment at the fire stations as part of an Immediate Response Company. These men are trained to conduct search and rescue operations, handle Hazmat incidents and provide basic medical assistance in a national emergency. In addition, a Rescue Battalion is on standby, ready to be activated in an emergency.
6 To enhance operational readiness, the SCDF and SPF have conducted Open Mobilisation Exercises for their NSmen. The results have been encouraging. It is re-assuring to know that our NSmen take their operational roles seriously and are ready to respond to emergencies when called upon.
SPANS AND CDANS
7 As Senior Officers in the Home Team, you play a critical role in fostering camaraderie and cohesion in the Home Team. One way of achieving this is to encourage your men to make use of the various recreational facilities provided by SPANS, CDANS and SAFRA.
8 Plans are currently underway for the merger of SPANS and CDANS so that there will be a single Association under the Home Team catering to the needs of our NSmen. This is a timely move that will bring about synergy in terms of Home Team identity, financial controls and human resource policies. We will also be able to leverage on our large combined membership base to source for more and better benefits for our Nsmen, for example, overseas holiday facilities. The details of the merger are being worked. An announcement will be made in due course.
Acknowledging Employers' and Families' Contribution to NS
9 When our NSmen are called for duty, their employers and families play a crucial role in ensuring that they are mentally and emotionally to give of their best. We are very fortunate to have many employers, families and loved ones who understand the necessity and importance of National Service. Thank you for your encouragement and support.
10 I extend my heartiest congratulations to all of you who are promoted this evening. Your promotion is well deserved. Along with it comes greater responsibilities and challenges. I urge all of you and your men to stay vigilant to face any challenges ahead. I am confident that all of you will rise to the occasion and do the Home Team proud.