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Protecting Us this Festive Season and Beyond
In place and alert – newly formed In-Situ Reaction Teams (IRTs) now patrol areas with high human traffic, ready to respond to any security threat.

It’s that time of the year again! The festive season is in full swing and shoppers are filling the malls and streets, buying goodies and humming along to carols.

But among the revellers are teams of specially trained officers, going about their job without fuss, ready to respond to any threat. These are IRT officers, a new unit of the Singapore Police Force (SPF) that patrols public areas such as Orchard Road and Marina Bay.

IRT officers are selected from the ranks of the SPF’s Public Security Command (PROCOM), a specialist unit that provides protection to security-sensitive locations. Working in tandem with the SPF’s Emergency Response Teams and Rapid Deployment Troops, IRTs respond to attacks that occur in their immediate vicinity. Hence their name – in situ is Latin for “in place.”


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In-Situ Reaction Team (IRT) officers firing at targets during a training session. PHOTO: Mabel Yap

The majority of IRT officers are Full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) who patrol with a regular officer. As part of their training, IRT officers are trained in specialised skills such as how to deal with hostage situations and heavy vehicle attacks. According to Commander PROCOM Assistant Commissioner Manimaran Pushpanatan, NSF IRT officers have been “entrusted with an important operational role, [one that is central to] ensuring the safety and security of Singapore.”

Special Constable Sergeant (SC Sgt) Muhammad Khidir Kamar, who is from the pioneer batch of IRT officers, underwent a rigorous three-week training programme that pushed him to his physical and mental limits. “Our IRT training was tough,” He recalled. “I learnt new combat and situational awareness skills, and this has made me a stronger person. My squad-mates and I also encouraged one another by reminding ourselves that the training prepared us to protect our family and loved ones.”


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Special Constable Sergeant (SC Sgt) Muhammad Khidir Kamar began his IRT training in October 2017, training that he found rigorous and tough but rewarding. PHOTO: Mabel Yap

While on patrol, IRT officers don the distinctive beige beret worn by PROCOM officers and carry around 17kg of equipment, including bullet-resistant vests and helmets. IRT officers are constantly on the alert for suspicious items and individuals, as well as threats such as vehicular and knife attacks.IRTs patrol in full view of the public, allowing them to serve as a deterrent to potential terrorist attacks. Their presence also reassures the public about the SPF’s ability to respond swiftly and effectively.

 

“While my team was on patrol, a member of public came up and thanked us for helping to keep Singapore safe. It was heart-warming and reminded us how important our duty is. Singaporeans trust me and my fellow officers to keep them safe.”
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IRT officers patrolling Orchard Road in December. PHOTO: Mabel Yap

“While my team was on patrol, a member of the public came up and thanked us for helping to keep Singapore safe,” recalled SC Sgt Khidir. “It was heart-warming and reminded us how important our duty is. Singaporeans trust me and my fellow officers to keep them safe."IRTs will continue to patrol our public spaces and streets even after the end of the festive season. According to SC Sgt Khidir, constant vigilance is challenging yet necessary, though he recently received a small, unexpected affirmation.

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


  1. by Jaiesh Sachi
  2. 20 December 2017
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