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SPF Workplan 2016: New Fast Response Police Teams to Strengthen Security Response
The Police will be introducing new Emergency Response Teams and Rapid Deployment Troops.

New Emergency Response Teams (ERTs) trained in counter-assault skills and armed with HK-MP 5 submachine guns will hit the ground from June this year.

The ERTs comprise Police land division officers and will be the first line of response to a terrorist attack. Each team will operate in groups of four or five.

“They will get to the scene as quickly as possible to contain the situation and minimise casualties as far as possible,” said Minister for Home Affairs Mr K Shanmugam at the Police Workplan Seminar on 29 April 2016.

The Rapid Deployment Troops will respond to incident sites on Tactical Response Motorcycles that allow them to weave through traffic gridlock and navigate uneven terrain to reach the scene swiftly. PHOTO: Siti Hawa Binte Md Resat

On a daily basis, the ERTs will patrol public places such as malls and stadiums and engage with building stakeholders to build familiarity with the areas under their charge and develop joint response plans.

By July 2017, 300 officers will be added to the Special Operations Command (SOC) to form the Rapid Deployment Troops (RDTs) that make up the second wave of security response.

They will also supplement existing Police Tactical Troops.

The RDTs will move in a convoy consisting of armoured Tactical Strike Vehicles and Tactical Vehicles.

In a time-critical incident, they will ride Tactical Response Motorcycles to weave through congested traffic quickly.

These new fast response teams were some of the new initiatives introduced by the Police to strengthen its counter-terrorism efforts.

The Emergency Response Team officers will be equipped with protective gear such as the bullet-resistant ballistic helmet and vest, and a HK MP5 submachine gun. PHOTO: Heather Leong


 Minister Shanmugam said the Home Team will take command of all security operations within Singapore and may rely on other agencies such as the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) or Ministry of Health to support them, depending on the nature and scale of a terrorist attack.

“For example, if there is a large scale attack, and if Police needs additional forces beyond the ERTs and the SOC, SPF may call upon the SAF for specialised forces such as the Special Operations Task Force,” he said.

During heightened threat situations, the SAF will also assist the Home Team in conducting joint deterrence patrols and other security operations in areas such as the checkpoints and public transport nodes.

There will also be more electronic eyes on the ground to boost security.

The Police will roll out more police cameras in public places such as HDB heartlands, town centres and hawker centres from the second half of this year, starting with Jurong Gateway, Bedok Town Centre and Ang Mo Kio Town Centre, Minister Shanmugam said.

He added that the Police will work with commercial entities to adopt the Video Surveillance Standards and may gather footage from them for investigation and incident management.

The Police will also develop and refine its video analytics capabilities to automate the analysis of police camera footage so that officers can follow up on incidents of interest.

A police officer explains how the "i-witness" function of the Police@SG mobile app works to Minister for Home Affairs Mr K Shanmugam during an exhibition tour at the Police Workplan Seminar on 29 April 2016. PHOTO: Siti Hawa Binte Md Resat

The community forms another critical component of the Police’s counter-terrorism strategy.

Police National Service (PNS) officers will play a key role in the national movement SGSecure as trained “mobilisers” in a new “Community Engagement Officer” vocation.

In this new vocation, PNS officers will be redeployed from their support roles to perform community engagement functions with the Neighbourhood Police Centres’ Community Policing Units.

“They will be trained to communicate Police’s crime prevention and counter terrorism advisories, as well as interact with the public, including students.They will be expected to work closely with community stakeholders, including actively promoting and supporting SGSecure initiatives,” said Minister Shanmugam.

Members of the public can also do their part in staying vigilant and alert the Police on crime and terrorism through the new “i-Witness” crowdsourcing function in the Police@SG app.

“It will be easy and fast for members of the public to send information to the Police by text, photos, videos, using their smartphone or smart mobile devices,” said Minister Shanmugam, who launched the “i-Witness” function at the Workplan Seminar.

The crowdsourcing function is able to receive large file sizes of up to 20 gigabytes.

In situations when it is unsafe to make a call, the public can report an incident via SMS to 71999.

Users will receive an acknowledgement for the SMS sent and the Police will dispatch the necessary resources if immediate assistance is required.

This new service will be available from 1 May 2016 onwards.

As part of the SGSecure programme to prepare members of the public to respond to a terrorist attack, the Police has introduced a “Run, Hide and Tell” advisory.

The Police has introduced a "Run, Hide, Tell" advisory as part of its SGSecure programme to instruct the public on what to do if they are caught in a terrorist attack. PHOTO: Heather Leong

The public is advised to run from danger, hide from the active gunmen and tell the Police about the attackers when it is safe to do so.

Separately, to keep up with emerging challenges such as the manpower crunch, the Home Team will make better use of technology to operate more effectively.

For instance, the Police Coast Guard (PCG) is exploring the use of Unmanned Surface Vessels (USVs) to aid their manned patrols.

These USVs, which will conduct localised surveillance patrols, project police presence and intercept intruding vessels, will allow the PCG’s manned patrol boats and officers to focus on other critical maritime functions, Minister Shanmugam said.

The Police Coast Guard (PCG) is exploring the use of Unmanned Surface Vessels (USVs) to conduct localised surveillance patrols, to project its presence and intercept intruding vessels. This will enable the PCG's manned patrol boats and officers to focus on other critical maritime functions. PHOTO: Siti Hawa Binte Md Resat

The Police’s effectiveness in fighting transnational organised crime will also be given a lift when the Organised Crime Act comes into force in the middle of this year, Minister Shanmugam said.

He added that the Computer Misuse and Cybersecurity Act will be amended to “deal with the transnational nature of these crimes" and "keep pace with the changing modus operandi of cyber-criminals”.

Efforts are also in place to provide Police officers learning and professional development opportunities.

The Police will be introducing professional development leave of up to 10 weeks for officers to take up courses or attachments at related industries, community and voluntary organisations.

Officers will also receive a $700 annual learning and development subsidy for personal development-related expenditures.

In his speech to police officers, Minister Shanmugam commended them for their good work throughout a particularly challenging 2015: “We met very heavy operational needs, demands, a string of high profile events, while continuing to manage the day-to-day responsibilities. SPF rose to the challenge, met the challenge and the results are there for everyone to see.”

© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.

  1. by Mabelle Yeo
  2. 29 April 2016
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