Written Replies to Parliamentary Questions

Written Reply to Parliamentary Questions on Whether the Hiring of Auxiliary Police Officers from Taiwan is Continuing To Date

Published: 10 January 2024


Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) whether the hiring of auxiliary police officers (APOs) from Taiwan since 2017 is continuing to date; (b) what particular work challenges have been associated with hiring such APOs; and (c) which other jurisdictions are being considered for the recruitment of APOs.


Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law:

1. The Auxiliary Police Forces (APFs) continue to hire Taiwanese Auxiliary Police Officers (APOs).

2. We need to allow the APFs to recruit foreign APOs, to meet the increasing demand for security services. They face challenges in sustaining an adequate pool of APOs, given the shrinking local workforce, requirements such as physical fitness, and the job options Singaporeans have. 

3. As of November 2023, Singaporean APOs made up approximately 68% of the total APO population, and the remaining 32% are Malaysians and Taiwanese.

4. The deployment of Taiwanese APOs has generally been positive for the APFs. But it has been a challenge to recruit and keep them. Their numbers have decreased significantly, by more than 60% from 2017 to 2023, to about 70 today. The APFs tell us that this is because of the demanding nature of public-facing security work, improved job opportunities and prospects back home in Taiwan, a desire to settle down with a family, and homesickness.

5. As such, the Ministry of Home Affairs has been considering expanding the jurisdictions from which APFs can be allowed to recruit APOs. These potentially include Asian jurisdictions such as China, India, the Philippines and Myanmar. We have been in discussion with the APFs on the possibilities.

6. The risk of letting non-Singaporeans carry firearms, is something we focus on. So far, misuse of firearms by APOs is extremely rare and is not more prevalent among non-Singaporeans.

7. We try and manage the risks through security screening, training and supervision of APOs. We are also careful and more restrictive where we deploy non-Singaporean APOs. It is a challenging environment, because of our shrinking workforce.