Published: 08 January 2018
Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) what are the manpower challenges facing the auxiliary Police forces and; (b) what are the Ministry's considerations when allowing the deployment of foreign auxiliary Police officers at security sensitive locations.
1. Auxiliary Police Forces (APFs) are important partners to the Home Team. Auxiliary Police Officers (APOs) are deployed for a range of security functions, including protecting sensitive installations and providing security at major events. The APFs are regulated by the Singapore Police Force.
2. The demand for APOs will grow due to the rising threat from terrorism, and major infrastructure projects that require security manpower like Changi Airport Terminal 4 and the new Tuas Port.
3. Our clear preference is to recruit Singaporean APOs to meet this rising demand. The APFs have made significant efforts to do so, for example, providing signing and retention bonuses, and enhancing career progression. This has allowed the APFs to add over 300 Singaporean APOs over the past year. But this is still not enough to meet the projected demand over the next few years. There is a manpower shortage everywhere.
4. Local workforce growth is slowing, and it is difficult for the APFs to find enough Singaporean candidates who meet the requirements. To meet the shortage, we have allowed the APFs to hire Malaysian APOs. But even that pool has been shrinking, and our APFs have been finding it difficult to recruit enough Malaysian officers who meet the requirements. They needed to look for officers from other countries. Thus, the Minister for Home Affairs said in this House in 2017 that we will allow APFs to recruit Taiwanese APOs.
5. In deciding where non-Singaporean APOs can be deployed, MHA considers the operational needs and risks specific to each security-sensitive location. Our requirement was that land checkpoints, for example, be manned only by Singaporean APOs – and that has been said in this House.
6. But operational needs are growing significantly, everywhere, including our checkpoints. Visitor numbers are growing, and at the same time, the threats of terrorism have risen substantially. The security situation has become more complex, requiring more officers. Therefore, we have decided to allow Taiwanese APOs to be deployed at the land checkpoints alongside Singaporean APOs, because there are not enough Singaporean APOs available.