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Our Year in Review (Part 2)
Keeping Singapore safe and secure in 2020.

Home Team News Our Year in Review 2020 Part 2 01

It’s been another busy and fulfilling year for our Home Team Guardians. From supporting our national COVID-19 efforts to continuing our rehabilitation efforts to saving lives, here are some of the Home Team’s key moments in 2020.

Enforcing the Stay-Home Notice (SHN) Regime In 2020, officers of the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) expanded their roles beyond their core responsibilities of border security, immigration control and registration services to support COVID-19 operations. In particular, ICA officers were vital in ensuring the smooth implementation and enforcement of the SHN regime. 

Home Team News Our Year in Review 2020 Part 2 02

To reduce the risk of importing COVID-19, all travellers who entered Singapore from 20 March 2020 were issued with a SHN. ICA ramped up its resources and capabilities swiftly to conduct visits and surveillance calls each day, with officers from the Air, Land and Sea Domains helping to support SHN enforcement. 

To further ensure the robustness of the SHN framework, ICA also set up the SHN Investigation Taskforce in March 2020, with officers empowered to investigate offences under the Infectious Diseases Act.

Tech Advantage Technology has been a crucial tool in ICA’s clearance and enforcement efforts. Here are three examples of how ICA officers used technology to work more effectively this year.

Home Team News Our Year in Review 2020 Part 2 03

SG Arrival Cards Before COVID-19, SG Arrival Cards were only used by foreign visitors to provide their particulars prior to arrival. To support COVID-19 operations, ICA made enhancements to the SG Arrival Card within a month. This enabled travellers to submit electronic Health Declaration Cards through it and to receive SHN advisories. This improved the integrity of the contact tracing database and reduced the time needed to administer SHNs for arriving travellers.

Electronic Wristband ICA reinforced the SHN monitoring regime by utilising an electronic, tamper-proof wristband to keep tabs on those serving SHN orders. Developed in collaboration with the Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX), the wristband allowed officers to work more effectively and efficiently, reducing the risk of local community transmission from arriving travellers.

Home Team News Our Year in Review 2020 Part 2 04

Going Biometric in October 2020, ICA and HTX demonstrated how iris and facial biometrics had been implemented as the primary biometric identifiers for immigration clearance at the passenger halls of all our checkpoints. This advancement will ensure that the immigration clearance process is more secure, efficient and hygienic (which is especially important in light of COVID-19).

Safeguarding Health This year, the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) adopted a range of measures to safeguard the health and safety of inmates, staff, volunteers and stakeholders such as the families of inmates. To minimise the risk of viral transmissions, SPS introduced stringent measures to prevent and detect COVID-19. 

Home Team News Our Year in Review 2020 Part 2 05

A Focus on Rehabilitation To ensure the continuation of rehabilitation for inmates during the Circuit Breaker, SPS worked with trainers, volunteers and religious leaders to produce videos and worksheets that allowed inmates to engage in self-directed learning and enrichment. To help inmates maintain contact with their loved ones, SPS also facilitated phone calls for them and their family members.

Home Team News Our Year in Review 2020 Part 2 06

Change in Command On 15 September 2020, SPS held its Change of Command Ceremony with Ms Shie Yong Lee appointed the Commissioner of Prisons, taking over from Mr Desmond Chin. 

In his 30-year tenure with SPS, Mr Chin oversaw significant achievements for Prisons. Besides implementing technological initiatives that let officers focus on their roles in rehabilitating inmates, he also expanded the placement of inmates in community corrections and strengthened SPS’ collaborations with community partners and volunteers.

With over 25 years’ experience as a uniformed Prison officer, Ms Shie is SPS’ first female Commissioner. She will lead SPS as it continues its transformation of the correctional landscape through the innovative use of technology and dedicated partnerships with community and public agencies.

Apex Lifesavers In 2020, lifesavers of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) demonstrated their mettle and skill in a series of nail-biting rescue operations. In September, elite DART Specialists conducted a 10-storey-high rescue at a construction site at How Sun Drive. 
>> SCDF's DART Specialists: For the Cause, Not the Applause

Home Team News Our Year in Review 2020 Part 2 07

In November 2020, SCDF Marine Specialists transferred a patient from a container vessel off the southeast coast of Singapore. Great work, lifesavers!

Keeping Their Cool Launched in August 2020, SCDF’s first-of-its-kind Responders’ Performance Vehicle (RPV) is the latest addition to SCDF’s fleet of emergency vehicles. The RPV is a fully integrated facility that provides on-site treatment facilities for severe heat injury treatment via a purpose-built Cold Water Immersion System (the gold standard of heat injury treatment). 

Home Team News Our Year in Review 2020 Part 2 08

The RPV was developed through a collaboration between SCDF, SCDF ORNSmen who are medical doctors, academic researchers and a local engineering company. The RPV is stationed at the Special Rescue Unit (West) and was first deployed in September 2020 for a fire incident at Admiralty Street.

Launched in December 2019, HTX has had an eventful first year, mobilising to support our national COVID-19 efforts and rolling out a range of S&T solutions that serve as a Force Multiplier for the Home Team. 

COVID-19 Screenings In March, HTX’s team at the Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives (CBRNE) Centre of Expertise began conducting COVID-19 screenings for returning Singaporeans and travellers in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 from imported cases. Nasopharyngeal swabs were taken at our checkpoints and sent to HTX labs for analysis.
>> Applying S&T to Battle COVID-19

Force Multiplier Here are just some of the cool tech that HTX rolled out in 2020! 

Home Team News Our Year in Review 2020 Part 2 09
Clockwise from top left: Drone Box System to Enhance Ground Operations / MATAR Patrol Robot to Support Dormitory Operations / Next-Generation Fast Response Car / Police Beacon / Iris and Facial Biometrics for Immigration Clearance at Checkpoints / Tactical Boat Handling and Firing Simulator. PHOTOS: HTX, SPF, Home Team News

>> Airborne Drones for a Crime-free Zone
>> MATAR: Wheeled Presence on the Ground

New Ways to Learn In 2020, the Home Team Academy (HTA) adapted its methods and curricula to continue delivering effective learning to Home Team officers. Measures included the use of virtual conferencing platforms and converting course materials for online learning. For example, HTA’s classroom courses on cross-cutting skills (such as Data Analytics and Design Thinking) were converted to 100% virtual classes on Zoom.
Home Team News Our Year in Review 2020 Part 2 10

HTA also adopted a blended approach for lesson components of its courses, ensuring best learning outcomes by allowing lecturers and speakers to combine face-to-face sessions with virtual learning. Examples include the Phoenix Programme, the Home Team Senior Command and Staff Course and the UP-SCALE (Upgrading Professionally – through Specialist Certificate in Adult Learning and Education) Programme for Home Team trainers. 

These new learning methods and curricula have received a thumb’s up from officers, with positive feedback about virtual training and ratings that are comparable to face-to-face courses.

Home Team News Our Year in Review 2020 Part 2 11

Distinctions in Learning Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, HTA continued to strive for excellence in its journey to be a leading Corporate University in Homefront Safety and Security. In November 2020, HTA achieved the Silver Award and Bronze Award for Excellence in Business Transformation and Excellence in Workplace Culture respectively at the Singapore HR Excellence Awards 2020.

In May 2020, the Home Team Volunteer Network organised the large-scale packing and distribution of Everyday Guardians Care Packs for our frontline officers. This initiative allowed Home Team volunteers to show their support and appreciation to COVID-19 frontliners.

Home Team News Our Year in Review 2020 Part 2 12

Volunteers from the various Home Team volunteer schemes stepped up to take part, collecting the various items in the Care Pack for packing at home, to observe safe distancing measures. More than 200 volunteers and officers from the Ministry of Home Affairs packed over 20,000 Care Packs for frontline officers involved in managing COVID-19.
>> Check out this video from the Home Team Volunteer Network thanking our frontliners

Home Team News Our Year in Review 2020 Part 2 14
PHOTOS: SPF, SCDF, SPS, Home Team News

Every week, Home Team News brings you a selection of reports about how Home Team officers fight crime, save lives, secure our borders and keep Singapore drug-free. 

Home Team News Our Year in Review 2020 Part 2 13
PHOTOS: SPF, ICA, SPS, Home Team News

But there are countless more instances – every day, week and month – of our Guardians keeping Singapore safe and secure. Whether this work occurs under the spotlight or in the shadows, your efforts are truly appreciated. Thank you!

>> Check out Part 1 of Our Year in Review (2020)
© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.

  1. by Desmond Ang and Ashley Tuen
  2. 20 January 2021
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