On Assignment
Guardians in Training: Lab Lessons and Beyond
How a dedicated Home Team training lab is preparing our officers to take on Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Explosive threats.

It’s just like the real thing, but not quite. 

Neighbourhood shops, MRT carriages, an entire prison wing and rows of flats – these are just some of uniquely Singaporean touchstones that you’ll find at the Home Team Training Village. Located at a far corner of the Home Team Academy, the Village lets officers train under a range of realistic, scenario-based conditions. 

This is also where you’ll find the Home Team’s very first Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Explosive Materials (CBRE) Lab. Opened in 2007, the Lab has played a central role in improving the CBRE detection, mitigation and response capabilities of Home Team officers. 

To learn more about what the Lab does, we met with Ansley Jones Goh, Principal Lab Manager with the Office of the Chief Science and Technology Officer (OCSTO) at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). 

OCSTO CBRE Lab 01B
Ansley Jones Goh at the CBRE Lab, a full-featured scientific training facility at the Home Team Training Village. PHOTO: Peggy Tan

Tell us about the CBRE Lab. 
The Lab was established in 2007 as the designated training facility within OCSTO’s network of laboratories. Our work involves customising CBRE and narcotics training programmes to meet our operational needs as well as conducting training for Home Team officers. This is essential as it is all too easy for CBRE materials to undermine our national security. 

Our programmes range from classroom lessons and lab sessions to the use of various screening equipment and tools. Since 2007, we’ve trained over 20,000 Home Team officers on the finer points of CBRE detection, mitigation and response. 

OCSTO CBRE Lab 02B
Active learning: On a typical afternoon at the CBRE Lab, OCSTO team members taught classroom lessons, conducted lab sessions and led screening demonstrations. PHOTOS: Peggy Tan

Which project are you most proud to have contributed to? 
I helped to conceptualise and design the Scientific Demonstration Suite at OCSTO’s Protective, Analytical and Assessment Facility in Pasir Panjang. To help our officers become more aware of CBRE threats, we have to take different approaches; that’s why the Suite uses a hands-on, “science centre exhibit” concept to explain what CBRE materials are. We wanted to convey scientific concepts in an innovative and tactile manner, and the Suite has been well-received by officers. Our training methodologies were also recognised when we received the Home Team Training Unit of Year Award in 2017.

OCSTO CBRE Lab 03 SDS
New methodologies: The Scientific Demonstration Suite teaches CBRE concepts in an innovative and tactile manner. PHOTOS: Home Team News

What are some of the new training initiatives that your team has been working on? 
To raise the knowledge of Home Team officers, we’ve begun conducting workshops with global experts. Last year, we organised the inaugural International Joint Bio-terrorism Response Course to give our officers an overview of bioterrorism threats and joint incident responses. 

We also conduct training sessions for our international partners. For example, at the inaugural Security Sensitive Materials Awareness Programme (International) in May 2018, we hosted homefront security agencies and first responders from Malaysia and the Philippines. We'll also be conducting another workshop on Chemical-Biological Crime Scene Evidence Collection at the end of October. 
 
What’s been the highlight of your career as a Home Team officer? 
I joined MHA in 2007, right after completing my National Service as a Police officer. The highlight for me is knowing that by training Home Team officers in CBRE and Narcotics, I help them stay safe as they work to keep Singapore secure. This is what motivates me!

  1. by Mike Tan
  2. 10 October 2018
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