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2023 Wrapped (Part 3)

Here’s a recap of some of the Home Team’s key moments in 2023.
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GRAPHIC: Amber Qua

Home Team Academy (HTA)
As the Corporate University of the Home Team, HTA takes pride in being at the forefront of training and learning. HTA’s Home Team Simulation System and suite of leadership development programmes were recognised with five Brandon Hall Group (BHG) Excellence Awards across different categories. This consists of three gold awards for Best Advance in Leadership Development, Best Advance in Learning Technology Implementation and Best Use of Games or Simulations for Learning as well as two silver awards for Best Unique or Innovative Leadership Program and Best Unique or Innovative Learning and Development Program. The BHG Excellence Awards recognises organisations that have successfully developed and deployed programmes, strategies, modalities, processes, systems and tools that have achieved measurable results.

HTA has also continued to place emphasis on People Development – one of HTA’s key focus areas – through advocating continuous learning, upskilling of staff and sustained engagement. 2023 saw HTA win several external awards in recognition of its efforts to drive people development and staff welfare.
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The Silver Ribbon Mental Health Award was presented to HTA on 9 October 2023. PHOTO: HTA

In October 2023, HTA was awarded the Silver Ribbon Mental Health Award for the second consecutive time. This award recognises HTA’s efforts in creating a mentally friendly and healthy work environment. HTA is committed to supporting its staff’s mental health through flexible work arrangements and a range of well-being and team bonding initiatives.

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HTA received two awards at the 16th Singapore HR Awards on 25 October 2023. PHOTO: HTA

In the same month, HTA received two awards at the 16th Singapore HR Awards: the Gold award for Workplace Culture & Engagement and the Silver award for Employee Experience & Well-being. Organised by the Singapore HR Institute, Singapore’s leading professional HR body, the annual Awards is a regional benchmark for the advancement of HR practices and affirms that HTA has set the standard for industry best practices.

HTA will continue to engage and support its officers in their development and collaborate with them to build a stronger workplace culture.

As a forward-looking organisation that drives and shapes the Home Team (HT) training and learning (T&L) ecosystem, HTA undertakes a host of initiatives that prime the organisation to be future-focused. In part a reflection of the advancements it has made, and to represent its evolution towards a progressive, digitally empowered entity, HTA refreshed its logo in May 2023.

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Guided by modern design considerations, the logo preserves several features that are representative of its roots and identity as a national T&L institution. Notably, some of the elements in the logo include:
    - The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Buildings, which represent HTA’s parent ministry, and are an iconic symbol of homefront safety and security;
    - The State Shield, which reflects HTA’s identity as a proud national institution;
    - Laurel leaves which symbolise HTA’s training excellence, and serve as the traditional symbol of training and academic honours and distinction; and 
    - The colour yellow, which represents HTA’s optimism, warmth, and intellect.

By drawing on the expertise and resources of renowned international and local academic and professional partners through strategic collaborations, HTA can offer HT officers exposure to a wide range of training and learning opportunities to enhance their capabilities in ensuring public safety and security.

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The signatories of the MoU, Professor John Latham CBE (left) and Mr Anwar Abdullah (right), with Mr Pang Kin Keong, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs (centre). PHOTO: HTA

In 2023, HTA signed two Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with the first being with the United Kingdom’s Coventry University on 6 July. The MoU seeks to strengthen both organisations’ collaboration and capacity building in simulation training, crisis leadership development, and public safety and security programmes.  

Building on an existing collaboration, HTA also signed an MoU with the Institute for Adult Learning (IAL) on 20 October. The MoU is centred around enhancing the professional development of HT Departments. This includes the development and delivery of a blend of technology-driven training and traditional methods, complemented by formal programmes from Singapore University of Social Sciences-IAL and event collaborations.

Forging collaborations with academic and professional institutions amplify the breadth and depth of knowledge and resources that HTA and the HT have access to. HTA looks forward to continuing to assimilate best practices from esteemed local and international strategic partners.

Simulation-based training and learning is gaining traction in various industries and countries worldwide. With the widespread application of simulation in live operations and training environments, HTA focuses on advancing its capabilities in the field through developing new training tools and programmes such as the use of AI and extended reality, and expanding its pool of resources and knowledge through various initiatives such as exchange visits with industry and foreign counterparts.

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Speakers of the conference discussed a variety of questions raised by the audience, such as the scalability of simulation programmes and technologies. PHOTO: HTA

On 6 July 2023, HTA and Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX) jointly organised the inaugural Home Team Simulation Conference to provide a platform for the discussion of simulation training and its application in real-life scenarios. Professor John Latham CBE, Vice-Chancellor and CEO of Coventry University Group, and member of HTA’s Advisory Panel along with Dr Syed Mohammad, Ph.D., Director of Modeling and Simulation Technology Center, Science and Technology Directorate, Department of Homeland Security were the conference’s distinguished guest speakers. They were joined by Mr Ying Meng Fai, Director, Human Factors and Simulation Centre of Expertise, HTX, and Mr Gilbert Chen, Assistant Director, Capability Development, HTA.

The conference received overwhelming response and support from the various HT Departments and partners and showcased how HTA has led the HT to be at the forefront of simulation training innovation.

In today’s rapidly changing world, the HT remains committed to safeguarding Singapore against an ever-evolving landscape of challenges. To ensure our HT officers continue to be future-focused, HTA, as a leading corporate university in homefront safety and security, invests in providing them with a suite of upskilling opportunities.

Developed by the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) and supported by MHA, the Bachelor of Public Safety and Security programme (PSS) was launched in 2020 to provide students, including HT officers, with theoretical knowledge in the areas of criminology, crisis management, and psychosocial intervention. HTA works closely with the stakeholders to oversee content development and programme evaluation. To date, more than 500 HT officers and public-run students have enrolled, both full-time and part-time, in the degree programme.

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Congratulations to the pioneer batch of MHA-sponsored graduates from the Bachelor of Public Safety and Security Programme! PHOTO: HTA

12 October 2023 saw the graduation of 23 MHA-sponsored officers from the pioneer batch of the full-time PSS programme. Mr Anwar Abdullah, Chief Executive, HTA, gave a 15-minute speech at the convocation ceremony. He shared an inspiring message on the importance of resilience and commitment to lifelong learning and encouraged the graduates to approach challenges with an open heart and an inquisitive mind.

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HTA launched the Home Team Learning Management System (HTLMS) 2.0 during HTA’s Workplan Seminar held on 2 May 2023. The HTLMS 2.0 is a newly upgraded data-driven and collaborative learning system which aims to provide a more seamless end-to-end experience for a diverse range of users like the HT’s curriculum developers, trainers and learners.

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Besides including a new in-situ content builder that allows HT officers to easily create e-learning packages by clicking and dragging icons to form the packages, the enhanced system also allows them to preview the e-learning packages from the learners’ perspective at any time during the development of the content. In addition, HTLMS 2.0 will provide a platform to foster collaborative learning so that HT officers enrolled in a course will be able to participate in course discussion forums to share insights and clarify queries, even after the course has ended.

HTLMS 2.0 will be used by all officers across the HT and is just one of the ways HTA is enhancing the HT’s T&L capabilities.

Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)
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SCDF Emergency Medical Services officers assessing “casualties” during Exercise Northstar XI. PHOTO: SCDF

On 22 March, more than 300 personnel from SCDF, key government agencies and industry partners took part in Exercise Northstar XI, a multi-agency counter-terrorism and consequence management exercise held at Jurong Island. Led by SCDF, the exercise aimed to validate emergency response plans and hone coordination across multiple national agencies.

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HazMat specialists from SCDF responding to the chlorine pipeline leak during Exercise Northstar XI. PHOTO: SCDF

The scenarios played out in Exercise Northstar XI included the detonation of Improvised Explosive Devices by “terrorists”. SCDF set up its tactical headquarters to coordinate its response on the ground and to account for its personnel as they mitigated two oil tank fires and a major chlorine leak from the ruptured pipelines caused by the bombs. The HazMat Control Vehicle was used to identify dangerous chemicals and assess the extent of contamination, while HazMat specialists were deployed to contain the chlorine leak.

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More than 300 guests attended the SCDF Workplan Seminar held at the Civil Defence Academy on 31 July 2023. PHOTO: SCDF

The SCDF Workplan Seminar 2023 was held on 31 July at the Civil Defence Academy (CDA). During the event, Guest-of-Honour Minister K Shanmugam brought up the significant progress made by SCDF towards becoming a world-leading life saving force.

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The Flash Point is an integrated training complex that incorporates fire, rescue, and shelter training facilities within the setting of a mixed-use development. PHOTO: SCDF

For the Phase Two redevelopment of CDA, SCDF set up three new facilities to better prepare officers for challenges at the frontline. The new facilities include the Flash Point, a training complex that simulates more complicated fire and rescue scenarios, a National Emergency Medical Services Training Centre and a Fire Research Centre.

SCDF will continue to strengthen its partnership with the community, towards its vision of A Nation of Lifesavers. The Community Emergency Preparedness Programme will be streamlined to a two-part Responders Plus Programme (RPP) with an online component and a practical component. The RPP provides participants more flexibility in picking up lifesaving skills at their own time and convenience. SCDF will also redesign its fire posts to introduce the Lifesavers’ Connect Zones, which has interactive kiosks for the public to learn or refresh their lifesaving skills.

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SCDF officers taking part in the SGFPC Braveheart (team) challenge. PHOTO: SCDF

SCDF organised the Singapore Global Firefighters & Paramedics Challenge (SGFPC) on 24 and 25 November at the Singapore Expo. Emergency responders from SCDF and around the world competed in various thrilling skills-based challenges in firefighting, rescue and the emergency medical services. Through the friendly competition and camaraderie, responders put their skills, strength and endurance to the test, reinforcing existing bonds and forging new ties with each other.

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SCDF Parade 2023. PHOTO: SCDF

In addition, the SGFPC featured the SCDF Parade, in which 650 participants came together to reaffirm the commitment of SCDF personnel to the Life Saving Force and show appreciation to valued partners and volunteers. This flagship event also marked the first time that the Community First Responder contingent took part in the SCDF Parade.

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The High Mobility Modular Machine (left), with its modularity and versatility, can perform a wide range of support functions during incidents, such as the transport of heavy equipment, casualty conveyance, and debris clearance for firefighting and rescue operations. The 3rd Generation Unmanned Firefighting Machine (right) is equipped with high water output and a high-capacity ventilator that serves to complement the H3M at the fire ground. PHOTO: SCDF

SCDF also announced the launch of two new Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) – the High Mobility Modular Machine and the 3rd Generation Unmanned Firefighting Machine. The two newly launched UGVs will augment SCDF’s firefighting operations and reduce the operational risk to firefighters during major incidents.

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SCDF officers working together with the local rescue team and a Spanish rescue team to rescue a trapped victim. PHOTO: SCDF

After a 7.8 magnitude deadly earthquake hit Türkiye-Syria, SCDF deployed the Operation Lionheart contingent to assist in the disaster rescue efforts. SCDF sent a first group of 20 officers on 8 February 2023, equipped with portable urban search and rescue equipment, life detection devices and fibre-optic scopes to Turkey. An additional 48 SCDF personnel and four canines from SCDF’s Search Platoon followed soon after.

Officers worked closely with international counterparts to render aid to the affected people of Türkiye. On the ground, they were involved in two successful rescues - a 12-year-old boy who was trapped under the rubble of a three-storey building and a man who was trapped in a semi-collapsed building.

MHA In Parliament 
Five bills introduced by MHA were passed in Parliament in 2023. Here’s a recap of the Home Team’s legislative highlights.

Online Criminal Harms Bill
When criminal offences that affect national security, national harmony and individual safety, and which have an online nexus take place, directions can be issued to online service providers, other entities, or individuals. Also, designated online services need to put in place systems and processes to counter scams and malicious cyber activities. These enable swift action against criminal activities carried out online and proactively disrupts scams and malicious cyber activities before they harm more victims.

Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) (Amendment) Bill and the Computer Misuse (Amendment) Bill
To curb the facilitation of scams and the movement of criminal proceeds, Parliament passed the proposed new offences of rash and negligent money laundering. Owners of payment accounts, including bank accounts, will be held accountable for any transaction that takes place through their accounts. To prevent Singpass abuse, it will be an offence if an individual disclosed his Singpass credentials to facilitate an offence and obtain or deal in Singpass credentials to facilitate criminal activities.

Misuse of Drugs (Amendment) Bill and Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Amendment) Bill
Both bills were passed in Parliament on 21 March, paving the way for a new legislative framework for psychoactive substances to be introduced in 2024. Increased penalties for offenders possessing large quantities of controlled drugs took effect on 1 June 2023.

Read Part 1.
Read Part 2.

Written by

Tham Yee Lin and Amber Qua


27 December 2023

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