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A Look Back at 2022 (Part 2)

2022 marked a return to normalcy post-COVID. Here’s how our Home Team Guardians stayed ahead of changes in the past year.
A Look Back at 2022 - (part 2) 01

Home Team Academy 
As HTA embraced the endemic stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, innovation and digitalisation continued to be a key part of HTA’s Training and Learning journey.

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HT Trainers undergoing VR training. PHOTO: HTA

Thinking Out of the Box
HTA spearheaded the use of Virtual Reality (VR) technology in the development of HT trainers’ soft skills. It was previously only used to facilitate the training of hard tactical skills such as handling firearms and riots as well as crime scene investigation. This system allows the trainers to make different choices in various virtual classroom-based scenarios, allowing for a more immersive learning experience.

From October 2021 to March 2022, HTA conducted Proof-of-Concept (POC) sessions that focused on assessing the instructional competencies and classroom management skills of HT trainers. Over 20 VR POC sessions were conducted for a total of 113 trainers, with over 90% feeling positive about the experience.

Revamping Home Team Gallery
After serving the HT community for over a decade, the Home Team Gallery was closed in February 2021 for a renewal. The new Gallery was launched on 11 May 2022, offering a more emotive and engaging experience by adopting a layered content strategy through a combination of multimedia interactives.

As one of HTA’s key Training and Learning platforms to build a ‘One Home Team’ mindset and identity with shared values, ethos and ethics, the gallery showcases the HT’s contributions to Singapore’s Homefront safety and security.

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Visitors at the revamped HT Gallery. PHOTO: HTA

Forging New Partnerships
In September, HTA signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the USA Federal Law Enforcement Training Centres (FLETC) to better facilitate the collaboration between both organisations. As a follow-up to HTA’s and FLETC’s first MOU in 2016, the refreshed MOU facilitates knowledge-based sharing, exchange of best practices, joint projects, staff exchanges and more.

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Virtual MOU signing. PHOTO: HTA

An HTA-FLETC International Programme on Crisis Leadership (IPCL) was also organised as part of a key ongoing overseas partnership with FLETC. IPCL provides an important platform to build global partnerships, share crisis management best practices and hone crisis leadership skillsets.

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Group photo of ICPL participants. PHOTO: HTA

A second run of the ICPL was held from 15 to 18 November, with 24 officers senior law enforcement officers from more than 10 different countries including the US, Australia, China, Thailand, and Brunei attending. Course participants and speakers shared and discussed contemporary and emerging crisis trends.

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On the local front, HTA inked an Implementation Agreement with the Institute of Adult Learning (IAL) in January. HTA and IAL designed and ran two one-day Continuing Professional Development programmes in July and September aimed at improving HT trainers’ proficiency and confidence in conducting virtual training.

Singapore Civil Defence Force
First Smart Fire Station

Co-located with Punggol Neighbourhood Police Centre, Singapore’s 23rd fire station and SCDF’s first Smart station was officially opened on 25 February 2022. Some of the Smart features include Automated Fire Station Access Control for self-registration of visitors using their NRIC or SingPass app’s Digital NRIC; classrooms with VR/XR training systems for interactive simulations and live-streaming that save officers a trip to the CDA; and an Automated Medical Store with a self-checkout system.

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Punggol Fire Station and Punggol NPC. PHOTO: HTX

Making Waves
SCDF’s Marine Division celebrated its 10th anniversary on 1 April. A commemorative event was held to mark a decade since SCDF took over the marine firefighting function from Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. It grew from a small outfit with only two fireboats to a fleet of six vessels with robust response capabilities. Ten pioneer Marine officers received a specially designed Marine Medallion in recognition of their efforts.

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The Emergency Responders Fitness Conditioning and Enhancement Lab (ExCEL) at the Civil Defence Academy, developed jointly with HTX, was unveiled at SCDF’s Workplan Seminar. It is a purpose-built research & development and training facility that aims to enhance and redefine the capabilities of emergency responders.

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An officer undergoing assessment at ExCEL. PHOTO: Joash Tan

The lab provides individualised training by analysing an officer’s physiological and cognitive data captured by the system. It can assess an officer’s movements to ensure optimal physical condition and acclimatise officer to varying heat conditions safely.

Growing the Life Saving Community
In line with SCDF’s Save-A-Life initiative, the SCDF-Ninja Van AED-on-Wheels was launched in July with 50 Ninja Van delivery vehicles equipped with Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), as well as fire extinguishers and first aid kits. SCDF also trained the 50 drivers, appointed as Community Lifesavers, to administer Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), applying AED, conduct basic firefighting and administer first aid. Drivers are alerted to cardiac arrest emergencies and minor fires within a 1.5-km radius of their vehicles' location through SCDF's my Responder app.

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Flag off of Ninja vans equipped with AED, fire extinguishers and first aid kits. PHOTO: SCDF

Celebrating Special Response Unit's 20th Anniversary 
The Singapore Civil Defence Force's Special Response Unit marked its second decade specialising in incidents such as mass decontamination and large or prolonged fires. The unit was set up in 2002 after 9/11 attacks, staffed mostly by full-time NSmen and has responded to more than 100 fire, 70 rescue and 30 mass casualty conveyance incidents. The unit is putting technology at the forefront, using customised equipment like the mass decontamination vehicle and autonomous casualty transporter.

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Special Response Unit. PHOTO: SCDF

NFEC 35th Anniversary

The National Fire and Emergency Preparedness Council (NFEC) celebrated the 35th year of its inception in September. The Council works closely with SCDF on various community outreach events and initiatives. As part of the anniversary celebration, NFEC also presented 103 Fire Safety Awards (FSA) to appreciate commercial and industrial stakeholders for their commitment and contributions towards building a fire safe environment for all.

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Cake cutting at NFEC's 35th anniversary celebration. PHOTO: SCDF

INSARAG – Recognised National Accreditation Process
In October, SCDF became the first Asia-Pacific organisation to have its Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) framework accredited for its Operationally Ready National Servicemen (ORNS) Rescue and Medical Units.

About 300 ORNS personnel were tested in their USAR capabilities - involving complex height rescue, cutting, rigging and lifting operations - in a 24-hour assessment by a team of International Search and Rescue Advisory Group assessors. The accreditation will allow SCDF to conduct self-certification of our ORNS units' USAR capability under the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) framework.

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SCDF personnel undergoing assessment of their USAR capabilities in a collapsed building scenario. PHOTO: SCDF

Enhancing Regional Thought Leadership
The fourth edition of the Fire Safety Asia Conference (FiSAC), held from 16 to 18 November, brought together over 300 regional practitioners to exchange insights on innovative fire safety solutions and the latest trends in emergency response.

During the event, SCDF unveiled its largest emergency vehicle - the 90m High Level Articulated fire and rescue response vehicle - that allows aerial firefighting and rescue operations of up to 30 storeys, developed in collaboration with HTX. The Fire Safety Design Awards (FSDA) were also presented to seven recipients who achieved high standards of fire safety design for their building projects in Singapore.

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Launch of FiSAC 2022. PHOTO: SCDF

Operation LionHeart 
Between 16 November to 2 December, SCDF deployed a 16-member Operation Lionheart (OLH) contingent to New South Wales (NSW), Australia, in support of flood rescue efforts. The 16-member contingent was in NSW for two weeks to assist the NSW State Emergency Service, and Fire and Rescue NSW. The contingent was split into two teams and stationed in the cities of Parkes Town and Wagga Wagga City.

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Operation Lionheart officers at work. PHOTO: SCDF

"In Safe Hands", SCDF’s latest Mandarin drama serial was aired daily on MediaCorp Channel 8 from 7 to 18 March. The action-packed drama wowed audience with adrenaline pumping scenes featuring SCDF’s latest technological gadgets, fleet of emergency appliances as well as SCDF officers acting alongside MediaCorp artistes.

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A poster of the SCDF drama. PHOTO: SCDF

Singapore Police Force
The security threats to Singapore's maritime environment are complex and constantly evolving. With a porous coastline and a high volume of shipping traffic, we are vulnerable to various maritime crimes, such as smuggling of illegal immigrants and contraband, and possible terrorist attacks.

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Commissioning of the new patrol crafts. PHOTO: SPF

On 30 June 2022, MIN K Shanmugam commissioned the Police Coast Guard’s (PCG) Next-Generation Patrol Craft at the PCG Brani Base. A total of 42 new patrol crafts of three different boat types were launched to be deployed in Singapore waters: the 5th Generation PT class patrol craft, 3-series PC class patrol craft and 3rd Generation PJ class interceptor.

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The commissioning of PCG’s Next-Generation Patrol Craft marks another milestone in PCG’s operational readiness as it continues to safeguard our territorial waters.

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The new craft features improved design and speed, as well as incorporates technologically-advanced equipment to increase PCG’s effectiveness in detecting and neutralising maritime threats. The new craft will form an integral part of PCG’s fleet across all its bases.

Singapore Prison Service
Opening of SPS Heritage Gallery

On 17 June 2022, the SPS Heritage Gallery was officially opened by MOS Faishal Ibrahim, together with Commissioner of Prisons, Ms Shie Yong Lee. The Gallery features four zones documenting the progression of the corrections landscape in Singapore from the 1800s till present day, and the transformation of SPS from a custodial to a leading correctional agency.

It also pays tribute to the contributions of past and present Captains of Lives. The Gallery hosted retired prison officers and former Commissioners of Prisons for a reunion on 17 October. Former Commissioner of Prisons Mr Desmond Chin, who retired in 2020, expressed his delight at the drop in recidivism rate to 20%.

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Launch of the SPS Heritage Gallery. PHOTO: SPS

Enhancing Community Corrections
The new Employment Preparation Scheme (EmPS) was introduced following amendments to the Prison Act. EmPS, which started on 2 September, replaced the Work Release Scheme and enables inmates to undergo skills training and education, in addition to working in the community.

The skills training and education will enhance inmates’ employability and grant them more job opportunities upon their release. With gainful employment, ex-offenders are less likely to re-offend, and be empowered to reintegrate into the community as responsible citizens.

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Set Up of Desistor Network
As part of a community mobilisation plan to rally community partners to create an ecosystem of support for ex-offenders on their reintegration journey, SPS shared on 15 November the idea of a Desistor Network with selected agencies.

The network comprises desistors (ex-offenders who have not re-offended) to help encourage ex-offenders to desist and stay crime-free. The agencies engaged by SPS shared their preliminary thoughts on how they could support the Network with the planning and execution. The Desistor Network will be launched in 2023.

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SPS' community partners at an engagement session. PHOTO: SPS

Beyond Maximum Security
Following the success of CNA Insider’s "Inside Maximum Security", a three-parter sequel "Beyond Maximum Security", premiered on 20 December. The sequel focused on four previously-featured inmates. The documentary showed how SPS and its community partners work together to guide the inmates in their rehabilitation and reintegration journey. Through this series, SPS hopes to build public trust by helping the community gain a better understanding of how our Captains of Lives support inmates during incarceration and supervisees during their community-based programmes.

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MHA In Parliament
The Home Team constantly reviews laws and policies to make sure that we can keep Singapore safe and secure in an ever-changing world. Here's a recap of the Home Team's legislative highlights for 2022.

Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore Bill and Gambling Control Bill (1R, January 2022)
This Bill reconstitutes the Casino Regulatory Authority into the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) thereby expanding GRA's mandate to regulate the entire local gambling landscape. The Gambling Control Bill updates existing laws to keep pace with changing technology and industry practices.

Registration of Criminals (Amendment) Bill (1R, August 2022)
The Bill expands the collection and use of DNA information as well as strengthens personal data protection.

Debt Collection Bill (1R, August 2022)
This new Bill empowers MHA to regulate debt collection activities and gives SPF the necessary levers to stem problematic conduct from the collection of debt.

Penal Code (Amendment) Bill and the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Amendment No. 3) Bill (1R, October 2022)
The Penal Code (Amendment) Bill repeals Section 377A, a move that decriminalises sex between men. The Constitution Amendment Bill introduces a new Article 56 (Institution of Marriage) in Part 13 of the Constitution. It clarifies that Parliament has powers to make laws relating to marriage and protects laws defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Read Part 1.

Written by

Elaine Lee


6 January 2023

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